American Elephants


Bewilderment And Anger From The Left! What Went Wrong? by The Elephant's Child

Conservatives everywhere constantly wonder what is the matter with the left, and try to find a satisfactory answer. We just had what can fairly be called a “wave” election.  Republicans will control the House of Representatives by 247 to 188 Democrats. They will control the Senate, by 54 to 44 with 2 independents. The GOP controls the governorship and the legislature in 23 states compared to 7 states for the Democrats. Legislative power has slipped from the hands of the American left.

“Never have liberal ideas been so firmly entrenched within America’s core elite institutions. Never have those institutions been so weak and uninfluential,” said Walter Russell Mead. Democrats were sure that the policies they believed were good government would assure eternal liberal success, instead they turned out to be political poison.

Eric Alterman, a reliable man of the Left, writing in the Nation, cited two core reasons for the disaster — ObamaCare and immigration amnesty.

The Affordable Care Act and the executive order expanding the rights of undocumented immigrants were certainly the right thing to do from the perspective of Democratic values, but both are politically poisonous at present. Obamacare undermines a key Democratic constituency badly in need of help: labor unions. The immigration order fires up anti-immigrant passion among working-class voters while benefiting an ethnic group—Latinos—whose voter-participation levels remain anemic, even allowing for the restrictive election laws passed by Republicans. 

Back to Walter Russell Mead:

Modern American liberalism does its best to suppress dissent and critique (except from the left) at the institutions and milieus that it controls. Dissent is not only misguided; it is morally wrong. Bad thoughts create bad actions, and so the heretics must be silenced or expelled. “Hurtful” speech is not allowed, and so the eccentricities of conventional liberal piety pile up into ever more improbable, ever more unsustainable forms.

This is a pretty heady admission from a man of the Left., and he goes even further.  He admits that liberals “live in liberal cocoons, read cocooning news sources, and work in professions and milieus where liberal ideas are as prevalent and as uncontroversial as oxygen.”

What liberals have lost is any connection to common sense. They don’t have any.  So cocooned that they have no idea what Republicans think or stand for. There is no anti-immigrant passion on the right. It isn’t about immigrants, who are welcomed; it is about the “undocumented” part. We have immigration laws and expect them to be obeyed.

The Affordable Care Act was a complete fraud from the beginning. Useless benefits were piled at the front end to get people signed up for bad insurance, and then paid for by cutting payment to physicians and hospitals so much that no one could find care, and the “insurance” became clearly unaffordable. The solution to that would be to nationalize all doctors and hospitals, and turn it into a single-payer plan of the kind that everyone else in the world is trying to get out of because it doesn’t work, and kills off its participants.

Other than that, in his criticism of the liberal project, Alterman mentions that Republicans are anti-immigrant; restrict voting rights; are fanatics; their views of science, economics and pretty much anything else are crazy; are only the party of “Hell No!”; against policies that would help the poor such as Medicaid, and Democrats are barely less dependent on big-money donors than Republicans. Whew! Wrong on every point — and embarrassingly so, proving the “cocoon.” Falling in love with an idea rather than the reality is typical of the Left. A patient is unfortunately better off with no insurance than with Medicaid.

And the “party of the rich” is not Republicans. Democrats took in 71% of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors. Among group donations of more than $100,000, the GOP doesn’t even appear on the list until #14. The National Education Association topped the list at $22 million. The much reviled Koch brothers (who are not even Republicans but Libertarians), came in at 23rd. Global warming activist Tom Steyer blew at least $74 million on the midterms. And that’s not even mentioning George Soros’ secretive Democracy Alliance.

Mead says: “In that sense the Obama administration may represent “Peak Left” in American politics, and what we are getting from the left these days is a mix of bewilderment and anger as it realizes that this is as good as it gets.”



Statistics That Will Change the World For Good or Ill by The Elephant's Child

The period between Christmas and New Years is always a strange time. Everybody on the news front has a substitute, does reruns, does best-of, or makes lists. It is the time of year for lists. Can be drummed up quickly and fulfills the need for a column, and the end of a year seems to call for a “summing up.” The best movies, the best books, the funniest cartoons, the best photos, the most admired people, the most important sports events, the most important events ad infinitum. A pox on all their houses.

Robert Samuelson came up with a list of “Best Stats of 2014” which he cheerfully admits he didn’t even collect all the statistics himself proving the significant lack of effort peculiar to the period. I enjoyed it completely, and link to it here. but I will mention a few of my favorites.

— China’s government estimates that by 2020, 30 million eligible bachelors will be unable to find a wife.

— The average teen processes 3,700 texts per month.

— In 2013, more than 40 percent of American births were to unmarried mothers for the sixth consecutive year. (In 1997, the share was 32 percent)

— Only half of American men shave daily.

— Two years after the Newtown school shooting, 52 percent of Americans support gun ownership — up from 32 percent in 2007.

These statistics are all important, but we don’t know how important.  Just how the trends will play out remains to be determined. We have not heard the last of any of them.

(Typo in the gun ownership date fixed)



Wreckage Has Been Found From the Missing AirAsia Flight by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2014, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Asia, Intelligence, News | Tags: ,

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Wreckage has reportedly been found from Missing AirAsia flight 8501 that disappeared less than an a hour after takeoff Sunday morning. Indonesian rescue teams sighted wreckage in Borneo’s Karimata Straight, some 66 miles southeast of the plane’s last known position. The flight was carrying 162 people when it was lost.

An Official of Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry, speaking from Jakarta confirmed the wreckage was from the body of the plane. Search teams had been racing the clock as bad weather was expected to hamper efforts to find evidence. Foul weather has been suggested as part of the blame, but just why the plane went down is not yet known. AirAsia has pledged support for the families.




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