American Elephants

Paul Ryan Is Trying To Save The Country. by The Elephant's Child

“What if your President, your Senator and your Congressman knew a crisis was coming?  What if they knew why it was happening?  What if they knew what they needed to do to stop it from happening?  What if they had the time to stop it?  And what if they chose to do nothing about it…because they thought it wasn’t good politics? 

“What would you think of that person?”

Turning Lies Into Public Belief: It’s Easy! by The Elephant's Child

Here is a short but  fascinating article, just right for the campaign season. Why do some people repeat erroneous statistics over and over, even after the opposition has illustrated just how erroneous they are?

We’d all like to believe that facts trump falsehoods, but unfortunately this is often not the case. Misinformation is easy to believe, and even easier to spread. An untruth can be repeated into reality by simply bombarding the public via advertisements, news, and social media. It’s that easy.

Psychologists are demonstrating that repetition is the prime conduit for shaping beliefs. In the 1940s, Floyd Allport and Milton Lepkin conducted pioneering research demonstrating that newspapers could be used to boost morale for the war effort. By repeating positive headlines, even if they were misleading with the details, the public would believe that events are going smoothly, and would thus stand firmly behind the cause. The tactic worked to great effect.

Over time, studies have shown that repetition leads to familiarity, which is the key to fostering belief. Dr. Norbert Schwarz, of the University of Michigan said: ( I paraphrase)

Perceived familiarity exerts influence because frequent exposure to an opinion can be a clue that many people share the opinion, providing a social consensus. Daily conversational conduct is based on the assumption that communicated information is truthful and relevant, again influencing acceptance, especially when it seems that one has heard this repeatedly.

Once familiar misinformation is accepted and embedded, it can be difficult to dislodge. Research indicated that any repetition of misinformation, even if the purpose is to debunk, can serve to perpetuate.

The game is: If you want the public to believe something, just yell it louder, say it simpler, and repeat it more often than anybody else.

Closely related: New survey March 15, from Rasmussen Reports: 48% Blame Bad Economy on Bush Recession, 46% Blame Obama’s Policies. This is the highest number of those blaming Obama’s policies in three years. The recession did begin under the Bush administration, but Bush tried so hard and unsuccessfully to get the Democrat Congress to take the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seriously, that it’s a little hard to “blame Bush.”

Our Demagogue-in-Chief has emphasized in nearly every speech that he was left “the worst economy since the Great Depression,” so don’t blame him. And that wasn’t true either.  It wasn’t the worst economy, and recovery could have come much faster. Instead we got ObamaCare, a wasted stimulus, an auto industry bailout (and no, the taxpayers haven’t been paid back) that rewarded the UAW, and simply gave Chrysler to Fiat.  “An untruth can be repeated into reality.

[American Elephant adds: I think even more important than that it wasn’t the worst economy, is that Obama didn’t inherit it from Bush, he inherited it from Democrats, including himself.

First of all, he and the Democrat party took control of both houses of Congress on January 3, 2007. When they took over, Republicans left them with a growing economy, and an unemployment rate of 4.6%. It wasn’t until after Democrats had been in control for a full year that the recession even began (Jan 2007). And it began not because of Bush’s policies. Remember, Bush was the outgoing president, and it was the incoming Democrat policies that the markets were reacting to. Bush’s policies had been very successful, bringing us out of the dot-com bubble-burst recession, averting a second recession after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and building a robust, growing economy with 52 consecutive months of job growth.

The recession began because Democrats won office promising to repeal the Bush tax cuts, and promising massive new spending and regulation.  And by the end of 2007, beginning of 2008, with Bush very unpopular, and Democrats successfully blaming the new downturn in the economy on him instead of themselves, it looked almost certain that Democrats would win the White House, guaranteeing that they would implement these economy killing policies.

Secondly, the housing/financial crisis didn’t happen until TWO years after Democrats took control of congress — as a result, not cause, of the recession. The recession began, millions of people started losing their jobs, and millions of bad credit-risks, whom the government forced banks to loan to, could no longer afford their homes.

Lastly, it is essential to remember that Obama didn’t even inherit a budget from Bush, he inherited, and signed, a budget written by his party. The budget of FY 2009 was written by the Democrat congress, which quadrupled the deficit, and they WITHHELD it from Bush, in an unprecedented move,  so he could not veto it, and held it over until after Obama was inaugurated, and HE, not Bush, signed it into law.

Obama inherited the “worst recession” from no one but himself and his own party.]

No Magic Wand, No Silver Bullet—Just Make Something Up. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama delivered his third public energy speech at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland this week. This apparently gets categorized as informing the public on his energy policy, rather than as the campaign speech it obviously was. The White House has moved into full reelection mode.

We passed the payroll tax at the beginning of this year to make sure that everybody had an extra $40 in their paychecks on average— in part because we anticipated that gas prices might be going up like they did last year, given tight world oil supplies.

Um, you didn’t say anything about the cost of gas at the time. But we’ve heard the “no silver bullet,” “no magic wand” and “no quick fix”before. “First of all we are drilling. Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. Any time. That’s a fact. That’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. I want everybody to listen to that —we have more rigs operating now than ever. That’s a fact. We’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil across the country. We announce our support for a new one in Oklahoma that will help get more oil down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.”

This is so shameless. America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years because of permits granted by the Bush administration, and oil is being produced on private and state lands over which Obama has no control.

Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember next time you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year  In 2010, our oil dependence, the amount that we’re bringing in, the percentage we’re bringing in, was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  We’ve got to do better than that, and we can do better than that.

But in order to do better than that, we’ve got to tell the folks who are stuck in the past that our future depends on this all-of-the-above energy strategy.  That’s our job.  That it can’t just be — it can’t just be drilling for more oil.  We’re drilling for more oil, but that can’t be all the solution; that’s just part of the solution.

[T]hey’ve been talking down new sources of energy.  They dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas-guzzlers.  They think that’s good for our future.  We’re trying to move towards the future; they want to be stuck in the past.

We’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  Let me tell you something.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail — they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  They would not have believed that the world was round.

Obama’s “all-of-the-above energy strategy” is not exactly all-of-the-above. Gasoline consumption has not dropped because of Obama’s clean energy initiatives, but because the economy is in the tank and some 15 million people are unemployed. Wind and solar, beloved by the administration, do nothing for our gas tanks. And they don’t do much for the electric grid either. Both require 100% backup from a conventional power source, usually a coal-fired power plant, for coal supplies nearly half of our electricity. Obama’s EPA is vigorously shutting down coal plants, threatening blackouts and brownouts.

Obama thinks of wind and solar energy as something new, but they are old, old technologies that have been in use for centuries, never efficiently. Wind is simply too intermittent, and with a coal plant cycling on and off constantly, there is really no net energy produced. The story for solar energy is similar. Solar energy is too diffuse, interrupted by clouds, shade and night.

The 115 year-old Roberts electric car, built in 1896, gets 40 miles to the charge, just like the Volt. Corn ethanol is being added to gasoline, but it is more polluting and contains less energy than gasoline, and raises food prices as well. Biodiesel is being mandated, but there isn’t any, and algae’s usefulness is a long way from being proved.

CAFE standards have been raised dramatically, but whether they can be produced is another question. The increases demanded are far beyond the industry’s previous engineering abilities, which were achieved by making everything in a car lighter.  There’s more to that than waving one’s hand and ordering a number met, but Obama is very big on mandates.

The president is in an uncomfortable place. Things have not gone well, the economy has not significantly improved, his ‘clean energy’ expenditures have been a scandal and a waste, Americans want ObamaCare repealed.  No accomplishments unless he makes them up, which is just what he is doing.

(click to enlarge)

You will notice that the increase in U.S. oil production all occurs in “tight oil”, or shale deposits. The sector totally out of Obama’s control.

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