American Elephants

Scotland: Floor Eleven by The Elephant's Child

I do too have a sense of humor, though it doesn’t seem like it.  Here’s a little humor to break the bad news cycle.

It’s called:  Voice Recognition Lift

If the News of the Day Doesn’t Worry You—You Aren’t Paying Attention! by The Elephant's Child

There was so much in the news today. Obama’s big climate speech captured way too much of the news. Silly speech, misguided effort, wasted money, killing jobs, not affecting climate at all. And he couldn’t even get his facts straight.

—Edward Snowden remains in the news in a Where’s Waldo sort of way. He is apparently still in a hotel at the Moscow airport, and Putin in enjoying sticking a thumb in Obama’s eye in more ways than one. As President Obama called for a one-third reduction in our nuclear arsenal, the wars in the Middle East continued to heat up. Obama apparently didn’t notice, but Vladimir Putin did. Russia has built a new midrange missile, the Yars-M, banned under a 1987 arms treaty. So much for treaties. But Putin is also playing host to Snowden,  a traitor with possible secrets to share, and a danger to our national security interests.

—Since the world is becoming so much safer, as the Taliban are preparing to take over Afghanistan, the war in Syria is becoming more problematical, and the Middle East is becoming more dangerous. So, in a massive restructuring, the U.S. Army is slashing the number of active duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, and shifting thousands of soldiers around the country as it moves to cut the size of the service by 80,000. General Ray Odierno the Army Chief of Staff, said he hopes to cut through voluntary departures without forcing troops to leave the service. We have a long history of slashing forces just when the world is heating up.

—As President Obama is withdrawing troops from fighting terrorists in Afghanistan, he is sending others to Egypt  to protect the Islamofascists of the Muslim Brotherhood. The people of Egypt are not happy with the results of last year’s election, and are protesting increasing human-rights violations. More than 400 Arm soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas will be deployed to man posts throughout Egypt as part of a nine-month “peacekeeping mission.” They are trained for riot control and protests. Morsi has stacked the courts with mullahs, unleashed religious police to enforce Sharia law, He has censored the media and the arts, churches have been burned, women are forced into Islamic barb. Other Muslim Brotherhood leaders have called the U.;S. “the enemy” and called for jihad against American troops.

—The Medicare trustees report came out at the end of May. The White House has crafted some spin to accompany the scary story. Medicare’s finances have improved, the trust fund (?) will last longer, the unfunded liability will last longer, all because of the wonders of ObamaCare. Uh huh. The unfunded liability, the trustees say is $34 trillion over the next 75 years. That is based on a 25% reduction in the fees that Medicare pays doctors. Every doctor who takes Medicare patients would get a 25% pay cut. Congress knows that this won’t work, and usually postpones the cuts with a “doc-fix.” The ObamaCare law also calls for steep cuts in health care spending on the elderly. This is where the Independent Pay Advisory Board (IPAB) comes in. It is supposed to deny treatment to old folks if it’s expensive. The CBO has produced an alternative scenario in 2012, and projected the shortfall to be more than $100 trillion.

—Are you worried about NSA spying? Troubled by the ethics and intrusion of the IRS? You can look forward to the government’s data collection efforts as a result of ObamaCare. HHS exposed just how vast those efforts will be in the Federal Data Service Hub. The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare that will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies and how much to deny. HHS said the ObamaCare data hub will “interact” with seven other federal agencies: Social Security Administration, the IRS, Homeland Security, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management, The Department of Defense and the Peace Corps. The Hub will also plug into state Medicaid databases.  What sort of data? Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship,gender, ethnicity, financial information,  immigration status, enrollment status in other health plans and incarceration status. The federal government is quietly enacting the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic, which they can disclose without the consent of the individual to a wide assortment of contractors, consultants or others.

—If any of this concerns you, you might think about speaking to your representatives or senators, or about electing new ones. 1984 indeed.

—General Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, said on Sunday that China’s theft of intellectual property from the United States amounts to “the most significant transfer of wealth in history.


Needing Distraction From Scandals, Obama Renews “War on Coal” by The Elephant's Child

Portable radio to use outside. If I turned the radio to face North, I could listen to Ed Morrissey interviewing Marco Rubio, If I simply turned it to face East-West — I got Mexican music. I found it amusing, but then I’m easily amused.

Lots of big issues today, some of them serious. The Supreme Court found that portion of the voting rights act that required Southern states to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice to make any change to their voting process to be unconstitutional. The Department of Justice has become politicized; and the States have not been discriminating as is well demonstrated by their voting history since the 1950s.  The evidence is quite clear. It remains against the law to discriminate. Nevertheless, Democrats are having a noisy fit. They depend on keeping Blacks and Hispanics believing that they are being discriminated against. Essentially, the decision recognizes that the Voting Rights Act worked, and accomplished that which it was intended to do.

Big Climate speech at Georgetown University. President Obama says if Congress won’t pass the laws he wants them to, he’s going to do it by executive order. If you are a true believer, fully invested in the idea that the alarming warming of the globe— found only in climate computer programs (GIGO)—is a danger to the Earth,  and we shut down all CO2 emissions instantly, the projected global temperature rise would be a ‘savings’ of approximately 0.08° by the year 2050, and 0.17° by the year 2100. ho-hum.  So why is the president conducting a “War on Coal?” Either he is a true-believer in the alarmist theme; or the Green Lobby is conducting a War on Coal, and the Green Lobby is huge and the source of massive support for the Democrat party, and Obama wants to assure continued Green support for his party even after he has left office.

Coal provides more electricity than any other single power source in the United States. It does so at half the price of it’s nearest energy competitor — natural gas. Should the president manage to kill coal-fired plants without lifting regulatory restrictions on fracking or otherwise making it easier to produce natural gas. What his ‘war’ will accomplish is to put thousands of coal miners out of work  in some of the nation’s poorest areas, and dramatically raise your power bill.

He also wants increased “efficiency” standards from the EPA. What that has meant is washing machines that don’t clean clothes, inefficient and hazardous light bulbs that make reading hard, showers that have eliminated a satisfactory spray, low-flow toilets that have taken a decade to fix. In most cases energy efficiency measures simply increase energy consumption that uses up the expected savings. Are dishwashers next?

The president is pushing offshore wind energy and other renewable projects just at the time that other nations are getting out. Spain and Portugal, better sites for sun and wind, have recognized that the cost of large-scale renewables is more than their economies can bear. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for reducing government spending on wind and solar in order to keep Germany economically competitive. Germany is a Northern country and their love-affair with the sun has never made much sense. Business is moving to where energy costs are less. Think through the incentives of that.

Is the President an Ideologue, or just— in the Chicago Way—assuring his supporters that he’ll continue the Graft that has been so much a part of his administration?  Payback.

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