American Elephants


CNN’s Very Bad, Horrible, No Good Week by The Elephant's Child

CNN has had a very bad week. Tuesday, the network announced the resignation of three journalists — Eric Lichtblau, recently hired from the New York Times, Thomas Frank, and the head of the network’s new investigative unit, Les Harris. (We can probably assume fired). The cause —they had published a Russia/Trump story that had turned out to be completely false, so false that it had to be retracted by CNN. Retracted is really, really bad.

Apparently CNN’s CEO had told their reporters that the Paris climate thing was nice, but it was time to get back to Russia.

According to Power Line:

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has infiltrated CNN, and he has video of a CNN producer admitting that the network’s Russia fixation is “mostly bullshit,” but they do it because it brings in the money. Paul wrote about O’Keefe’s dynamite video this morning; if you missed it then you should watch it now. The CNN producer says things like “it’s mostly bulls**t right now.” And “I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me.”

This is, of course, a body blow to whatever is left of CNN’s credibility. But the bad news doesn’t end there. O’Keefe says today’s video is just Part 1. He has more on CNN, and he has put other corrupt news media on notice. So there could be more fireworks soon.

President Trump lost no time claiming vindication–rightly, according to the CNN producer.

I was looking through one of my bookshelves and noticed several books on  the Media. Damned Lies and Statistics by Joel Best, showing how statistics are manipulated by the media, and the difference between the world as it is, and the world portrayed by the media and the statistics they use to support their view. Published — 2001

Then there was Coloring the News by William McGowan, also published in 2001, exposing how crusading for diversity has corrupted American Journalism. Newspaper publishers and editors insist that promoting ‘diversity’ in the newsroom has produced better reporting and journalism. The assumption was undoubtedly that being of a different race or ethnicity would naturally produce a different viewpoint. McGowan carefully proved that they were wrong.

Bernard Goldberg’s Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News came out in 2002.Emmy Award-winner  Goldberg said the media too often ignored their primary mission—objective disinterested reporting.

Mobocracy: How the Media’s Obsession with Polling Twists the News, Alters Elections, and Undermines Democracy. Also published in 2002, by Matthew Robinson. Mark Levin’s blurb said Robinson had meticulously documented how the once-benign concept of gauging public opinion has been perverted into a weapon wielded by journalists with a political agenda.

Apparently I have been concerned about the American Press even longer than I remembered.  I can remember a day when we did trust the news and the reporters who brought it to our attention. I also recognize how hard it must be to put your politics aside and do objective disinterested reporting, but the current crop seem to wallow in their political agendas and are unfamiliar with the task of keeping politicians in line with honest reporting assigned to the profession by the Founders.



EPA Director Scott Pruitt Moves to Rescind the Absurd “Navigable Waters of the United States” Rule by The Elephant's Child


In the picture above, behold the “Navigable Waters of the United States,”absurd, of course. Scott Pruitt, the new director of the EPA, announced Tuesday  that the Trump administration is moving to rescind the Obama administration’s absurd “Waters of the United States” regulatory overreach. The idea, was a massive power-grab by the Obama EPA that gave the federal government effective authority over millions of acres of American farmland and all sorts of other privately owned acreage.

Under the Clean Water Rule,  the EPA was given authority over the “Navigable” Waters of the United States and all “tributaries”  would be regulated by the federal government. Broadly defined, this meant that anything moist that eventually flowed into something that could be defined as a tributary because it eventually flowed into a “navigable river” could be controlled and regulated by the EPA for the federal government.  More than a bit of a stretch.

That put rural America in panic mode. Farmers, ranchers, dairymen and all sorts of rural people recognized what havoc such a rule could cause.

But the American Farm Bureau Foundation warned that a plain-reading of WOTUS meant that federal regulatory control could be asserted over any land surface that had ever experienced rain flow, had been flooded, or had irrigation ditches. Farmers argued that the federal regulatory redefinition could usurp state control of water use for America’s entire 247,417,282 acres used in row-crop cultivation.

The origin of the rule is found in the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which was expanded with the “Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899,” and then the “Clean Water Act of 1972” which aimed to protect America’s public drinking water from contamination. There’s a good example of federal rulemaking and how it can worm its way through agencies and committees.

The proposed rule change will be published in the Federal Register, under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203, the public will have a 30-day comment period to “review and revise “the definition of the “Waters of the United States’ Rule.”

This is consistent with the Executive Order signed by President Trump aimed at “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism and Economic Growth by Reviewing the Waters of the United States’ Rule.”



Wind Turbines Do Have a Use Even When There’s No Wind by The Elephant's Child

I have written many times about the problem with wind turbines is the simple fact that wind does not blow all the time. It is too intermittent to be successful as a source of significant power.  I have learned that wind turbines are useful— even when the wind does not blow. Who knew?

This was a tweet from someone in Germany, but I lost it and cannot find his name. So thank you, I apologize for not adding your name.

Correction: It was a tweet from Damien Ernst in Liege, Belgium, who is a professor at the University of Liege. Wonderful picture, great sense of humor.



Deregulating the Administrative State by The Elephant's Child

We have Trumpkins and Trumpsters, Never Trumpers, and on the other side foul language, Russian conspiracy freaks, Maxine Waters and CNN, among others. The Left goes on about Authoritarianism, and is apparently extremely worried about a new burst of  Fascism, Administrative control and loss of Freedom while President Trump works hard at lessening the regulatory burden that the Obama administration inflicted on business, the economy in general and our individual lives. There’s a bit of a disconnect here.

Look, we the people are the board of directors, and every four years we endeavor to hire someone to run the place for four years. Big job, and an important job. Keep the economy running, try to keep the peace, get along with other nations, keep the federal bureaucracy in check, world’s policeman—not a job we or the world wants, but somebody has to pay attention. Just keeping the country running properly is a huge job. Lots of agencies and offices and administrations and services, transportation and intelligence, military and the courts. It’s very very complicated and most things happen very slowly and it’s little wonder that they refer to it as a swamp.

A lot of the agencies and services don’t work very well, and President Trump is already endeavoring to straighten some of them up. The Veterans Administration can now fire people who are not meeting the needs of the vets they are assigned to serve. Maybe we won’t have our veterans dying while they are waiting for an appointment. Most people will not appreciate the fact that Trump has ended the task of a government agency to keep reporting on the progress of their efforts to deal with Y2K — the change of the calendar from 1999 to 2000 that was expected to be a major problem for America’s computers. 17 years have passed and only now can they stop working on formal reports, due every year. The roots and tangles that gum up the swamp are rules,  regulations and requirements that go on eternally unless they receive an official order to stop. That—is how you drain a swamp. The president is very pleased with ending unnecessary regulation, and welcomes suggestions for more bad regulations to remove.

The Left is incensed that the Supreme Court has allowed President Trump’s temporary travel ban to proceed. If they were even slightly aware, they would recognize the depth of the problems Europe faces because of the flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Europe, long slumbering under waves of unwanted immigration, is beginning to awaken and notice the constant terror attacks, the sexual attacks, no-go areas, the new attacks with trucks and cars and knives rather than explosives. Banning travel temporarily from seven nations designated as sources of terror by the Obama Administration — until they can figure out a way to vet them, is not cruelty but common sense.

The Left needs to take a deep breath, and stop making fools of themselves. But that’s undoubtedly asking too much.



Newt Gingrich Has a Few Comments on the Republican Congress by The Elephant's Child

At the Daily Caller, Gini Thomas interviews former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for the Daily Caller News Foundation.

He says health care policy is “life and death.” “It is ten times more complicated than national defense and you can’t fix it with a handful of congressional staffers sitting in a room somewhere, thinking they’re smart.”

If the Republicans get health care wrong, he predicts, they will lose the House.

The former speaker, whose newest book “Understanding Trump” became his 15th New York Times bestseller, explains there are “two pressure cookers” that impact how Washington works. One is in Washington, but the other is the country. “The country is bigger. You can’t let the Washington pressure cooker make you do stupid things.”

It’s about 25 minutes long, but utterly fascinating. Newt is an old Washington hand and knows his way around Congress. He says he would focus 80 percent of his energy on communications if he were the chief of Staff to Trump. He added that as far as impeachment and a future President Mike Pence are concerned, he will likely be at Pence’s inauguration in 2025, but the Democrats’ efforts to impeach Trump will probably slow down when they realize that Vice President Pence is more conservative than Donald Trump.

 



President Trump Has Signed 40 New Pieces of Legislation, Getting Rid of Unneeded Regulation by The Elephant's Child

President Donald Trump continues to sign legislation, an achievement that he called “nice” on Friday. There is a bill to improve weather forecasting, a long-term vision for NASA, and some long-awaited reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs. All three had bipartisan support.

—The Weather Research and Forecasting innovation Act of 2017 was described by the Washington Post as “the first major weather legislation enacted since the early 1990s. It aims to increase research into improving weather forecasts and to modernize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. David Titler, professor of meteorology at Penn State, said “improving weather-related safety of our people and assets is not political, but just common sense.”

—The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 calls for a $19.5 billion budget for NASA, a increase over the $19.3 billion budget for 2016. It asks that NASA create a plan for getting humans “near or on the surface of Mars” in the 2030s. Trump said during the campaign that “making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration.”

—The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act allows wrongdoers to by punished and gives more protection to those who inform. It puts veterans in charge of their own care.

Fifteen of the 40 bills signed repeal Obama-era regulations. Examples include a rule that made it harder for states to drug test welfare recipients and a regulation that imposed permitting requirements on mining sites. These were bills signed under the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to nullify any regulation created in the previous administration’s final 6 months.

—Other bills, less consequential, included the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act  which reduces the time families of fallen officers have to wait to receive survivors benefits. Another  bill gives federal grants to law enforcement agencies that hire veterans.

Many businesses and government offices have been hamstrung with over-regulation, which is what happens when agencies are given free rein to establish rules and regulations.



This Is What Passes for News These Days by The Elephant's Child

There are small mentions of what would seem to be unimportant news items, but if you follow up and see what the Leftists with bylines do with it, it gets pretty funny. Here’s what happened. President Trump declined to hold a “Iftar Dinner” at the White House to celebrate Ramadan. (Translation, nothing happened because there was no dinner and there were no invitations). Can’t let something like that pass without comment (see Islamophobia). The ‘establishment media” promptly tried to turn it into a crisis.

“Amy B. Wang of the Washington Post led the pack” with a claim that Thomas Jefferson held the “first Iftar Dinner” with a June 24 piece titled “Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” She even “recounted the time when the diplomatic envoy from the Bey of Tunis, Sidi Soliman Melli Melli, visited Washington during Ramadan in 1805.”

Jefferson invited the envoy to dinner at the White House at 3:30 PM, the time when dinner was usually served in those days. He was told that Melli Melli could not partake of a meal until after sunset because of Ramadan. It was either cancel the dinner or change the time, which he did. He had no intention of honoring Islam, didn’t ask about any special food. In fact, there was no tradition. Only three presidents in all of American history ever held an Iftar dinner: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Three presidents out of 45 does not a “tradition” make.  Do recall that Jefferson fought the Barbary pirates. Obama claimed in 2010, that his Ramadan dinner was the first since Jefferson, but his speechwriters were not known for research accuracy.

Interestingly, it seems that Islamic extremists killed more than 1,620 people during this year’s holy month for Muslims, making it one of the bloodiest Ramadans in history. At the end of Ramadan on Saturday, the total number of casualties for the entire holy month reached 3,451 (421 deaths 729 injuries) more than tripling the 1,150 casualties from 2016. ISIS issued many messages urging its followers to carry out deadly attacks in the United State, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Philippines. Except for Russia, they did carry out attacks. Breitbart has a list of all the attacks they have been able to record. It’s a very long list. Does fasting and avoiding sex from dawn to dusk make a person particularly irritable?  Who knew? So — news, fake news, bad research, overreach, dumb journalists. But that’s what passes for news these days.

ADDENDUM: Well, now that I’m fully awake, the math doesn’t add up 421 deaths +729 injuries adds up to 1,150 apparently from last year. If this year is a total of 3,451, that would indeed by a tripling. The error was in the original post, and I just unthinkingly copied it. Sorry about that.




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