American Elephants

Is the current situation leaving you a little out of sorts? by The Elephant's Child
April 12, 2021, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

There are expressions that we use, that may just be family expressions, unknown to others or perhaps they are common, but unexamined. The one that brought this on was “feeling a little out of sorts”. Probably been using the expression all my life without ever giving it the slightest thought or attention. What on earth does “out of sorts” mean? Odd. Is this an expression you use? or don’t use but you’ve heard it before? Have no idea? The meaning is simple enough, feeling a little ‘off.’ not quite right, that sort of thing. And it’s descriptive because its so vague.

That seems to describe the current period in our history rather well. A little out of sorts. Things are a little off. President Biden has essentially invited the citizens of Central America to come to the United States and we will invite them in, give them jobs, maybe citizenship, and apparently even stimulus checks. Central America doesn’t seem to be particularly flush with high paying jobs, excellent governance, great schools, and the people have responded directly to President Biden’s invitation, so enthusiastically that it has created a huge crisis on our border, a degree of fury from the border states that can hardly cope, a border patrol that is overwhelmed. and now President Biden is thinking about paying them just to go back home. Out of sorts indeed.

The most recent flap, and they seem to come along all too frequently, has been in Georgia and the state’s attempt to tidy up their voting regulations. States are responsible for setting their own regulations, it’s not the federal government’s task.

The election in Georgia was controversial, there were questions about the integrity of the vote, some ballots were scanned more than once, suitcases of ballots turned up after things were counted, lots of questions, so the state government wanted to straighten it all out and restore confidence.

They intended to tidy up the hours of voting, add some clarification of who was entitled to vote and where. In other words, when were the polls to open and for what hours, and how did you make sure that only those who were entitled to vote got to do so in the right precinct. They adjusted the hours so that working people had time to vote and still do their jobs, with the opportunity to vote on their way to work or after work. Seemed simple enough. And to make sure that they were entitled to vote because that was their precinct, they asked voters to show I.D. to identify themselves.

Because this is an “out of sorts” time, some large businesses assumed that this effort was a racist attempt to keep blacks from voting, and because businesses are extra sensitive to accusations of racism, they decided, without any effort to actually read the law as rewritten to proclaim it racist and unacceptable and the National Baseball League pulled their big tournament out of Georgia, and Delta Airlines, Coca Cola made a stink, and the national news piled on. And apparently not even the national newsmen bothered to actually read the new regulations. Massive nothingburger.

My point is that there’s a remarkable amount of stuff going on where no one has bothered to read what was actually said. Newsmen call in their celebrities to sound off on events that never happened. Big Tech, being closely involved with the news is also terrified of being blamed for something, and has gathered scads of “fact checkers” who may not know any more than the rest of us do, to proclaim what is true and what is false. And than everybody will act on that which has been proclaimed to be fact, but very well may not be and it’s probably racist anyway.

That’s what I mean by “Out of sorts”.

I Suppose We Could Call it “Infrastructure” by The Elephant's Child
April 11, 2021, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Having created an immense border crisis, Joe Biden is apparently now considering paying the illegal aliens to go back home. I suppose we could call it “infrastructure”. Infrastructure seems to be the name of the big program where you stuff everything you want to do. Should work, because when you call it infrastructure, people think roads and bridges, and don’t concern themselves much with the actuality. We’ve been here before, but I don’t really remember lots of photos of newly repaired bridges and new highways.

I have, today, seen accusations that many of our roads are “racist”, but there was no explanation of that one. Just a uniform accusation to throw out when you can’t find the right evidence, I guess. A road goes through a black neighborhood? A road avoids a black neighborhood? Dunno.

At the Wall Street Journal, James Freeman asks: “How Many Jobs Will Be Lost to Biden ‘Infrastructure”? He says sometimes the president calls his next proposed spending blowout an “infrastructure bill” and sometimes he calls it a “jobs: program”. The Biden plan may end up destroying plenty of both. The Wharton School projects it dragging wages down by 0.7 percent in 2031 and 0,8 percent in 2050. Other analysts disagree. I think that’s where the term “throwing money at the problem” came from. Mr. Biden is racking up a pretty big bill for the taxpayers. Remember my oft-repeated nostrum: “The Federal Government has no money of it’s own.”

FDR, the ultimate hero for the Democrats, had a lot of “jobs programs” during the Great Depression — The WPA, the ECW, the CCC– which critics at the time called “the use of 100 men shoveling dirt to create a road rather than using a road grader”. Didn’t shorten or end the Depression, Pearl Harbor did that. Not generally a good idea to appear weak in your enemies’ eyes. And, oddly, not everything can be solved by throwing money at it.

Another headline from the Wall Street Journal: “Inflation Arrives, Is It ‘Transitory’?” Producer prices up 4.2% in the last year, with goods prices up 7%. Unfortunately, that’s where throwing money at the problem ends up. People are already noticing the increasing price of gas.

Cause and Effect and Celebrity by The Elephant's Child
April 11, 2021, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

The climate crisis is upon us. President Biden is doing much of what he is doing because of the “climate crisis” — the XL pipeline, the thousand of lost jobs, the offshore wind farms, the efforts to shut down the oil industry, the rise in the price of gas for your car, the efforts to switch our cars and trucks to electricity instead of petroleum.

Wind and solar do not work. Been there, done that. Look up the evidence of Solyndra, (enter “Solyndra” in the space over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar). Moving wind offshore might produce a little more wind than mountain passes, though I don’t know that to be true, but neither wind nor solar can produce enough energy to run a modern society, And think about major factories as well as your own power and light. The Japanese had an edict to move their automobiles entirely to electric power in the next five years. Investigating deeply, they discovered that they were completely unable to ever produce enough electricity to run the nation’s transportation system. They have been desperately trying to warn us, but the Biden administration is not paying attention.

Greta Thunberg, the autistic Swedish child who came to America to scold the United Nations, got her portrait painted on the side of a building in San Francisco, and became a world noted celebrity. New laws, new regulations, frightened people. And all in the wake of what, exactly?

According to the best scientific evidence, there is no climate crisis. The climate has warmed by about one degree Celsius in the last 100 years. Slight increases in CO2, carbon dioxide, which is a natural fertilizer for plants, are helping to grow bountiful crops which are feeding a hungry world. The Thunberg child was mistaken, but she has become a celebrity.

Reporters want their stories to get published, and to get attention. That’s why words uttered by a “celebrity” are apt to get more attention than words uttered by the U.S. Representative from the other side of the state. So, what exactly is a “celebrity”? A celebrity is someone whose name is known. That’s it, in its entirety. Cher strikes me as the perfect example. She’s quite political, and loves to speak out on political matters. Does she have any special qualifications to be listened to? Not that I know of. i vaguely remember “Sonny and Cher” but not who nor what they were, something in music of the time, I guess, which was not my thing. Whatever it was they did, they undoubtedly had fans. But the fact that her name us recognizable will get the reporter a spot on a page, because people are more apt to look at a story about someone whose name is familiar. That is specifically where celebrities come from and why reporters look for a “celebrity” to get their story printed, even if it’s a nothing story.

This has an unfortunate effect on the “celebrities”. They start believing that what they say is important, and that they need to speak out, which means we get more “celebrities” speaking out. George Clooney has been emailing advice to the lawyers for George Floyd’s family, on what tactics to use to convict Derick Chauvin. Does George Clooney have any special knowledge about anything whatsoever regarding the trial. No. But he is a “celebrity” and thus feels entitled.

Your state representative in Congress from the other side of the state may have something important to say, but since he didn’t live in your county and you didn’t vote for him, you may be unfamiliar with his name. That, specifically is the problem with “celebrity.” It works for reporters, so it will continue, but it’s why the news is so warped. The only remedy, apparently, is to completely ignore stories about celebrities, and hope that it gradually changes reporters’ behavior.

End all single-family zoning because of racism. by The Elephant's Child
April 10, 2021, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Did you know that President Biden’s big “Infrastructure” Bill is aimed at ending single-family zoning? Get rid of those “exclusionary” suburbs and get everybody into apartment living. Back in the 2020 presidential campaign this was brought up, and then Biden went silent on it and the Democrat press denied that he had any designs on single-family zoning at all. President Biden calls it “exclusionary zoning.” And , of course, assumes that it all has a racist basis.

How did “racism” come to be such a hot-button issue?

Joe Biden insisted that he was going to choose a black woman as his vice president, and chose Camilla Harris. He has also chosen his cabinet members and advisers not on what we would normally call their qualifications, but for some “inclusionary” goal. See, see, I am not prejudiced at all, see who I have appointed. There are some clearly selected for their “inclusionary” role, when one would feel more confident were they chosen for their skills.

A remarkable lot of silly stuff going on. The outrageous flap over Georgia’s voting regulations was ridiculous. The regulations were changed slightly to be more inclusive and responsive to voter needs, while demanding I.D. for simple identification. Most of those screeching about how biased the new regulations were, were completely unaware that they only called for I.D. for simple identification as someone who was entitled to vote in that precinct. Certainly nothing exclusionary at all. Those who got so indignant from Baseball management to Coca Cola and Delta Airlines, did not bother to look into the regulations enough to find out what they actually required, and made themselves look like fools.

There is, or should be, more emphasis in our schools on looking stuff up, just knowing what you are talking about. Or maybe kids do their homework in school and don’t get the lesson that you have to do your homework throughout life. Trying to make everyone equal in their lifestyles as well as their influence us the very definition of Socialism. And Socialism just doesn’t work either.

The Border Wall: Construction, Costs and Migration. by The Elephant's Child
April 6, 2021, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

The Washington Times reported that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told his departmental employees that he may restart border wall construction to plug what he called “gaps: in the current barrier”.

In a conversation with ICE employees last week, Mr. Mayorkas was asked about his plans for the wall and he said that while Mr. Biden has canceled the border emergency and halted Pentagon money flowing to the wall, “that leaves room to make decisions” on finishing some “gaps in the wall.”

Donald J. Trump left office with 460 miles of border wall constructed, but in many difficult spots, gaps were left open to be filled with different equipment or streams to be diverted, stuff like that. The open gaps, of course, are a magnet for illegals or drugs to cross without interference and cannot all be manned 24/7. Contracts were issued to construction companies to deal with whatever the cause of the gap, and finish up the wall.

Construction contracts involve big costs like moving in heavy equipment, some rented at immense cost, hiring workers, that sort of thing, so they are firm, and involve significant cost. In the current case, the contracts to close the gaps left in the constructed wall are costing taxpayers about $6 million a day, because they have been halted. That can add up to a rather hefty sum rather quickly, which probably has something to do with Secretary Mayorkas’ announcement.

Enter Victor Davis Hanson with an article at American Greatness titled “Donald J. Trump: Joe Biden’s Best Friend”, which is a hilarious account of President Biden’s efforts to blame anything and everything that might embarrass the administration on the former president. Biden was even trying to claim that Trump didn’t do anything significant about the vaccine and he, Biden, was the one who was actually saving America from Covid-19. And there was Biden in late December, not yet inaugurated, getting his second vaccination shot.

Back in 2015, Christiana Figueres, General Secretary of the IPCC, announced at a press conference that the Climate Crisis presented the best opportunity to rid the world of dreaded Capitalism. 2021, and the world is trying desperately to get into the dreaded Capitalist country because it offers better pay, more opportunity, more peace, free schooling, little things like that. She undoubtedly knew back then that there was no real climate crisis.

President Biden says that the root causes of migration are hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Unfortunately migration itself breeds more migration, and migrants write back to say how much better they’re doing. The unaccompanied children at the border are often there because a parent is already in country, and paying coyotes to get them across. One of the common myths is that South-North migration is driven by poverty and under-development, but most migration does not occur from the poorest countries nor the poorest segments of the population. Actually development and modernization initially lead to more migration, not less.

The migration legislation of all of the countries surveyed [El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico] requires parental authorization for all minors traveling outside of the country. The laws of Mexico and Guatemala make possession of a passport a mandatory requirement for travel, and Honduran law prohibits the travel of unaccompanied minors.

Unfortunately the president has a lot of misunderstandings about Migration matters. It would surely help if Democrats were not so anxious to increase their control of Congress and the country, by increasing their numbers of voters and congressional representation. Congress has set formal limits on the number of new immigrants the United States can receive in a year. I believe it was a million immigrants a year. That has more or less gone out the window with big flows of temporary workers, illegal immigrants, visitors overstaying, and special workers for the Tech industry who work for less than our own Tech graduates, I guess.

Then there are the little matters of who gets what. Do all these temporary workers get a stimulus check? Have you received a stimulus check? Do all the illegals get a stimulus check, or do those just go to actual citizens? That seems to be completely unclear. President Biden is apparently unconcerned about the enormous National Debt he is racking up with stimuluses and infrastructuring and offshore wind farms and trying to get rid of carbon dioxide and welcome migrants. Some of the people he has put in charge of the energy sector seem to think we should push for a change to all-electric cars promptly, but the Japanese who just had an edict for a complete change-over to a transportation system run on electricity instead of petroleum products, but have found out to their terror and astonishment that they do not have enough electricity to accomplish that, nor the ability to produce enough and are trying desperately to warn the Americans who pay no attention. Joe Biden is pushing for offshore wind farms off all three coasts. The current administration seems to be completely unfamiliar with Solyndra.

And then there’s the little matter of actually getting the American people all vaccinated.

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” by The Elephant's Child
April 5, 2021, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Back when I was just another corporate worker-bee, I had occasion to notice that our chief executive received a thin little magazine that purported to inform him of the important news of the day. I don’t remember but perhaps he left it on the table in the lunchroom. What I remember was being shocked at the paucity of what the magazine considered necessary reading for chief executives, who theoretically may have to take actions on what is happening in the world. And of course today we have a lot of chief executives speaking out on things they know little, if anything, about.

What brought this to mind is, of course, the “outrage” by executives about Georgia’s new “racist” voting regulations. Major league baseball pulled out of Georgia because of it. Delta airlines considered moving their headquarters. President Biden was outraged, Coca Cola was outraged. Yet no one, apparently, had even bothered to read a single paragraph of the State of Georgia’s new voting regulations, which simply required that voters show I.D. in order to vote.

The bill actually expands weekend voting, and makes Sunday voting law, and protects a voter’s ability to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason.Strange to talk about when the teachers unions mostly have our public schools shut down. I suppose one’s attitude depends on whether or not you liked school when you were there. Those who had called in for tickets to be held for them at the stadium, had to show I.D.s in order to purchase them.

ADDENDUM: The picture was chosen because I wish my den looked like that. Doesn’t and not going to happen, but I can dream….

Georgia isn’t quite as peachy as usual. by The Elephant's Child
April 3, 2021, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

The 2020 election in the state of Georgia was very controversial as many questions came up about the integrity of the vote. There were concerns that ballots were scanned multiple times, mysterious suitcases full of ballots being counted after GOP observers had left. That sort of thing. Absentee and mail in ballots were counted in spite of lack of identification requirements. 1.3 million voters in Georgia mailed in absentee ballots in the 2020 election. There was understandably a long delay in election results being certified.

U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene said the reforms were essential because too many absentee ballots were “mailed in without verification. She said you have to show an I.D. to buy alcohol, to buy tobacco, to show and have a driver’s license to drive. President Joe Biden promptly labeled the bill “Jim Crow in the 21st Century, and claimed it was an atrocity. ( having to show ID? ) and said the Justice Department was “taking a look as well.

Naturally, Major League Baseball is going to remove their tournament, movie people will just not film their movies in Georgia, but in China instead. Delta Airlines made a stink until the Assembly mentioned reducing their discount on aviation gasoline. There was lots more childish behavior, but I was struck by the ignorance and the refusal to be bothered with studying up slightly to find out what they were talking about. That seems to be the nature of flaps or protests these days, and it’s more than a bit frightening to discover just how our nation is being run.

Absurdity piled on Absurdity. Governance today. by The Elephant's Child
April 2, 2021, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

President Joe Biden has announced that he plans to raise taxes significantly to help pay for his proposed $2.5 trillion infrastructure spending bill. “Infrastructure” is of course one of those new words that is meant to cover whatever politicians want to do. He defended his proposal with the following absurd words:

“Raising taxes, studies show, will not slow the economy at all … It will make the economy function better and will create more energy” he said.

The president’s plan would raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, and raise taxes for individuals making more than $400,000 a year. He argued that the tax hikes were necessary in order to help pay for his dramatic spending proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would fight Biden’s proposal, at a press conference in Kentucky on Thursday. He said way too much of the proposed spending was simply focused on leftist climate and green energy proposals and simply raising taxes. Biden has announced plans for a huge offshore wind farm on the East coast. Getting it offshore is supposed to guarantee more wind, but I don’t know if that is so. But clearly we must stop using fossil fuels because CO2 and the Swedish kid, Greta Thunberg, says CO2 is going to destroy the earth shortly.

There is no climate crisis. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants, and is helping to grow bountiful crops all over the world which are feeding the hungry and relieving poverty. It has been much warmer in the past, and much cooler as well.

“Raising taxes will create more energy.” Will that go down in history as Joe Biden’s most significant statement? Blanket permission for partisan Democrats.

Pete Buttigieg, the new Transportation Secretary, arrived in D.C. for a meeting, and parked his SUV in a quiet spot, and unloaded his bicycle so he could be seen biking to his meeting. More appropriate for an earnest Transportation Secretary, who may still have presidential ambitions.

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