American Elephants

Guns and Gun Violence, In Gun Controlled Chicago.

6737907727_885f58099e_bDemocrats learn from each other, and from approved leftist publications, and from Democrat talking points and late night comedians, I think. They do not seem to learn from evidence.

“As of November 23, there had been 2,703 shootings which resulted in 440 deaths year-to-date in heavily gun-controlled Chicago,” according to AWR Hawkins, writing in Breitbart.  That is an increase, he said, of approximately 400 shootings over the same time last year.

The Chicago Tribune reported these numbers as part of their broader coverage of the 11 people shot, five killed, over the course of last weekend alone. Half of those wounded were shot on November 22 “between about 12:25 p.m. and 8:40 p.m.” Three of those killed were shot on that same day, between those same hours as well.

It is especially notable that gun control laws have little to do with actual gun violence. Lefties always believe that it’s the guns, not the gangs. It’s the guns, not the drug dealing. And the violence is, of course, to be blamed on bad policing. Because there is gun violence and bad policing, the assumption is that people who are in prison for “non-violent crimes” should be released, because it isn’t fair. I am inclined to believe that selling drugs is a violent crime. At least it does violence to someone else’s life.

Chicago established a “violence tax” at suburban Cook County gun stores in April 2013. The tax is levied on each gun and bullet sold within the county. In 2014, the first full year after the tax, gun deaths increased by 19 over the toll in 2013. As if November 23rd, the Tribune shows 440 deaths with over a month left to go, so  Chicago has already topped 2014, and who knows what December will bring.

Evidence be damned. The Seattle City Council adopted a similar tax on August 10. Gun violence is raging in Seattle, but to the Democrat run  city council the problem is the guns, or the bullets, not who is holding or shooting the weapon. Seattle has suburbs all around the city, and they haven’t, and probably won’t, initiate such a tax. Seattle is similar to Berkeley, with a similarly useless city council.

You can look all around the world, and gun control laws simply do not work. See Australia, Britain, Canada for example.

America has lots of hunters. There are, as of 2011, 10.6 million deer hunters, 1.4 million duck hunters, 3.1 million turkey hunters, and 1.7 million squirrel hunters. Then we have elk, quail, grouse, goose, bear, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and wild pig and other species that are available to hunt in some locations. Where I grew up, a lot of families depended on the fall hunting trip for deer or elk to fill the freezer to get through the winter. Hunters are responsible gun owners and users for the most part, and many of them have several guns.

Criminals are not, but they don’t buy their weapons at gun stores, nor do they pay a tax on each bullet. The police take a very risky job because they believe in keeping the public safe. The “Black Lives Matter” crowd is doing a lot of uncalled for damage to neighborhood policing.

That is not a gun at the top.  It is simply a picture of a hunting rifle.

The Rise and Fall Of American Education

Schofield-Centennial Winter Sun2--default--medium_1The Democrats have been trying to end poverty and problems like crime and drugs and lack of education in the black community. After a long history of segregation and slavery, being on the wrong side of the Civil War, they are anxious to make the black community reliable Democrat voters. Thus any black person who leans Republican has become an Uncle Tom, a traitor to his people, and other rhetoric that is even worse. Democrats’ efforts to improve the schools or the educational attainment of black children has been a mixed bag. They consistently focus on the wrong things.

The attempts to improve things have been many, desegregating the schools, busing, classroom amenities, Head Start, and now pre-pre school. Well-to-do families put their kids in pre-school, so that must be the answer. Head Start shows a slight improvement in outcomes which disappear by 3rd grade.

In Washington D.C., there is a program called “Opportunity Scholarships”which provides scholarships to children from low-income families to attend a private school of choice. It operates by a lottery. President George W. Bush signed the program into law in 2004. It targeted 2,000 children from low income families to give them funding to help offset the cost of private schooling, and has been hugely successful and popular.

In 2009, new President Barack Obama ‘s budget proposal cut all funding for the program and included language to prohibit any new students from receiving scholarships. Whether this was simply to attack all things Bush, or at the urging of the teachers’ unions, I don’t know.

In 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator Joe Lieberman introduced a new Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR), restored funding and allowed new students to participate. Again, in 2012, Obama’s budget proposal did not include new funding for the program. Jason Riley argued that the program cost less per child and had a higher graduation rate than D.C. public schools. A very popular program with parents and students.

Well, never say die. The federal intrusion into schooling continues. There is a push for  pre-kindergarten, or extended babysitting for parents. Tuition-free two years of community college. Entrepreneurship education. Of course Bernie Sanders and Hillary are pushing for free college tuition, without the slightest idea how it could possibly be paid for. Obama demands less testing. Now comes the zinger. America’s national obsession with raising our “educational attainment” level has reached a new height of absurdity.

On November 6, the U.S. Department of Education put out a press release that declared a “sense of urgency about the need for significant improvement in both the rigor and flexibility of accreditation.”

The rationale is that the Obama administration is concerned that the U.S is falling far short of the president’s stated goal of becoming the nation with the highest percentage of citizens holding college degrees by 2020 — 60 percent. The numbers have actually declined slightly.

Schools with poor graduation rates are said to be “failing their students.” The federal government push for “affirmative action” has resulted in minority students enrolling in colleges where under ordinary circumstances they would not qualify for admission, but in a school with lower admission qualifications they might do well. It is meant well, but the results are bad for the schools and bad for the students. The administration fixation on graduation rates ignores the plain fact that we already have a glut of young people with college degrees, and employers are devising harder and harder tests to see if job applicants know anything.

We have an economic problem in that not enough well-paying jobs are being created — because of the actions of the federal government. An excess of regulation, high taxes, and a general suspicion of business have forced many small businesses to give up.  Colleges have designed more easy classes to appeal to kids. I don’t remember who puts out the list of silly college classes every year, but it’s enough to give you nightmares if you care about education.

The current furor on Campuses is an outgrowth. Faculty and administrative inability t0 act like grown-ups and insist on order demonstrates why the students are acting like children. We have a problem, and it’s going to get worse. Businesses will not hire graduates who exhibit no learning. Parents won’t pay for big tuition bills for poor results. The result of a college education is not supposed to be one more tic on the number of college graduates on some national list. It’s supposed to be hard, and they are supposed to have really learned something.

Big Climate Agenda in Paris: What to Expect.

WCS header-0“Next week I will be joining President Hollande and other world leaders in Paris for the Global Climate Conference,” Obama said at a press conference on Tuesday. “What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.” His remarks came a day after the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert urging American citizens not to travel abroad for fear of increased terrorist activity. The travel advisory will expire in February.

The President seems completely sure that climate change is destroying the world, and to preserve it we have to switch to alternate forms of energy and put large amounts of corn into our gas tanks, and in general worship at the altar of pure environmentalism. The opposition are so-called “deniers” who are to be scorned for disagreeing. The problem is that the “global warming” in which the president believes so firmly exists only in the computer programs of the UN’s IPCC. They start with what we actually know about today’s temperatures, add a lot of informed guesses, some ill-informed estimates and  a lot of maybes and what ifs. We’ve had centuries of worry about the winters getting colder or warmer and everything melting. This is not the first time we have been through this. In the 70s they worried about cooling, and nuclear winter.

The so-called “Deniers” (intended to associate with Holocaust Deniers) or Skeptics believe that the climate is always changing, that it has been much warmer in the past, and much colder as well. Man and animal species are adaptable and have successfully adapted to changes. No need for panic.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change has admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity — but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

I have no idea if this is Obama’s underlying belief, or if he is a true believer, like Prince Charles and Bill McKibben. The true believers are sure that the drought in Syria is the cause of terrorism, yet scientists say there is no drought. This gets us to the very awkward place where the people cannot agree on reality which is the increasingly common state of affairs between right and left.

There are increasing accusations that The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has cooked the books in a scientific paper which they prepared. They denied that there has been a “pause”  in the warming, which other scientists put at 18 years and 9 months of a quiet sun and no warming. History shows that scientists are not above doctoring the data to further an agenda, and there are very big bucks riding on a warming climate. Climate change activists are begging for the “deniers” to be scared to death to further their goals.

The Obama administration expects to update a controversial standard for ethanol levels in gasoline. Researchers say there is no benefit from including ethanol in gasoline, and it actually increases the CO2 in the atmosphere. The farmers in the Midwest want more ethanol so they can sell more corn at higher prices. The greens want more ethanol because gasoline is evil.

There’s a report from CFact that the Obama administration may be prepared to shut down the entire U.S. government unless Congress appropriates funds for the UN’s “Green Climate Fund.” This fund was created as a mechanism for the transfer of funds from  prosperous nations to  “developing countries.” Naturally the developing countries are anxious to blackmail the prosperous nations into funding their development, and much of UN funds are apt to fall into the outstretched hands of dictators and strongmen. They see no reason to agree to anything unless they get a major payout.

The newest bright idea is a demand for member countries to cut down on meat consumption to help them stem global warming. The livestock sector is responsible for  7.1 GtCO2  a year of greenhouse gas emissions (burps and flatulence), and equivalent to tailpipe emissions from the world’s vehicles. Adoption of a healthy diet (vegetarian) would generate over a quarter of the emission reductions needed by 2050. Raising the price of meat, or removal or subsidies for the livestock sector and substituting ‘plant-based alternatives.’ Uh huh.

The annual UN Conference of the Parties (COP-21) on climate change brings together over 191 countries and over 100 heads of state. Estimates are of around 40,000 in attendance to reach a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degrees C. over pre-industrial levels. A legally binding treaty would require signatures of 190 or more nations. Unlikely to happen.

There are not 67 supporting votes in the Senate, the Democrats are increasingly unwilling to vote for higher energy costs in an election year. European nations need higher levels of economic growth, and they are currently devastated with a massive influx of refugees and migrants.

Developing countries face real poverty, with need  for potable water, commercial electricity, and cure for diseases. They want a higher standard of living which means the use of fossil fuels. Windmills and solar panels aren’t going to do it.

The pursuit of significant emission reductions represents an agenda of the arrogant and crony capitalists who want to further enrich themselves by promoting subsidies, mandates, and loan guarantees to encourage solar, wind, and electric vehicles—even though these vehicles are not commercially viable and have no near-term prospect of being so.

That’s where we stand right now. Lots of hype and threats, and hard work to sort out reality. Britain is backing off from unworkable climate schemes, and looking to go for fracking to get at the natural gas in their shale deposits. Germany is building more coal-fired power plants, as are Japan, China, and India and all the smaller nations in between. Looks as if Obama is the one who is completely out of step.

EPA’s New Regulations Will Cause Double-Digit Increases in the Cost of Electricity in Most States.

blobThe EPA’s Clean Power Plan is meant to fulfill Obama’s brag about bankrupting the coal industry. Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, which Obama believes to be the cause of global warming which he sees as the greatest threat to mankind, and darn it, he’s just determined to save us all from the horrors of a warming planet. Even NASA has said the 2015 is the warmest year ever, but they came up with those numbers by making up temperatures for the vast areas of South America where there are no temperatures available.

Two new studies by Energy Ventures Analysis and NERA Economic Consulting claim the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices in every state it covers, with nearly all of them seeing price increases of 10 to 25 percent by the 2030s, which will accomplish nothing, nothing at all.

Forty-six states will face double digit increases in wholesale electricity cost when the CPP is fully implemented in 2030, with 16 states projected to experience a 25+ percent increase,” according to EVA’s report that was done on behalf of the National Mining Association.

NERA’s study found that “40 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 10% or more” and “17 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 20% or more.” Another “10 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 30% or more,” according to NERA’s study, financed by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Many noted scientists believe that the globe is cooling, rather than warming, and shuttering coal-fired power plants may be disastrous in colder parts of the country. Obama’s favored wind turbines are inclined to shut down  when it freezes.

The goal is to achieve a 32 percent reduction in CO2 by 2030. With its usual hubris, the EPA claims the CPP will yield $26 billion to $45 billion in net health and climate benefits from fewer power plants. That will be all the children who didn’t get the asthma they surely would have suffered from if nothing were done. As I keep pointing out, the EPA always goes for asthma, because doctors don’t know the cause.

Republican lawmakers  and dozens of states have warned that any global climate treaty can be undone in the courts. Obama expects to get China and other Asian countries to sign on to his climate change treaty, but China and India, and all the nations in between are building coal-fired power plants as fast as they can be built.They want the benefits of low cost power to grow their economies.

The Germans are turning back to coal fired plants, and the British will likely follow. They have done wind and solar and found them wanting, and now they want out.

Obama sees a planetary disaster, but the American people are not much interested. We have been threatened with disaster for over 20 years, and Americans are not willing to carpool, ride a bike or forego a vacation, In 1980, 0.05 percent of American biked to work. Today 0.06 percent of the people do. (That’s why we built all those expensive bike lanes.) Americans tell pollsters that they care about global warming, but when it comes right down to it — they seem to be pretty dubious.

Affordable power has meant growth and prosperity wherever it is available. Shutting down coal-fired plants will accomplish nothing, nothing at all, except a lot of unemployment and a lot of misery. It will make not the slightest differece in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. A higher cost of electricity will go a long way towards eliminating any growth in the economy. Takes sheer brilliance to accomplish all that.

Controlling the American People With a $183 Billion Web of Regulation This Year Alone

A-spiders-web-007Thanksgiving approaches — a major American holiday in which our attention turns to a brief reflection on the Pilgrims, and a major focus on turkey, stuffing and football. Everyone is looking forward to a day off. While we are distracted, the Obama administration released its plans for 2,224 federal rules on Friday. This is a preview of just how many more regulations the president intends to issue before he leaves office.

You probably thought we were already thoroughly over-regulated, which we are. It is a major drag on the economy, not just in make-work and annoyance, but financially. Michael Bastach is on the case at The Daily Caller. The Left has realized that to install socialism, they don’t need to own the means of production, they just need to control it, and this can be accomplished with a web of regulation.

Obama’s Fall 2014 regulatory agenda was released the Friday before Thanksgiving with 3,400 new regulations. Obama’s Spring 2015 agenda detailing the reach of 2,300 new federal rules was released the eve of Memorial Day weekend. You are not supposed to notice. There are new rules for coal mines, and rules banning common pesticides, major energy and environmental requirements, added to more federal control over U.S. waterways, new hydraulic fracturing rules and even stricter smog rules. Notice how many are from the EPA.

The last week’s batch of regulation imposes $1.8 billion in costs, according to the American Action Forum (AAF) which brings the total for 2015 to a startling $183 billion. Half of it comes from final rules and the other from proposed rules. The per capita regulatory burden is $570 for 2015, for every man woman and child. That’s 72,898 pages of regulations. Think of a busy spider spinning webs over  your family. At first you don’t even notice, but by the time you do, you are already wrapped up and stowed away on the web for dinner, later.

There is always some overreach, and organizations and businesses fight back, and some end up in court. The EPA has frequently been smacked down in court, but some of their rules stick. Are they accomplishing anything positive for society? No. We are already over-regulated. It isn’t about  improving anything, it is about control.     

You may have noticed that the progressives are a little weak in the economics department. They get all confused with Keynesian ideas about money multiplying as it circulates through the economy. They don’t get the burden that per capita $570 inflicts on us all, in higher costs for everything we use, the disappearance of small businesses that we patronized, the annoyance of new rules, the shrinking of our lifestyle, more unemployment, more national debt, and a shrinking economy.

The evidence is there, and very clear. Socialism does not work.  It will not be different this time, nor next time. Progressives are not interested in free markets, nor free people, but believe everything will mysteriously be  better when they are firmly in control.

Trust in Government is at an all-time low. Is anyone surprised?

Obama Remains Committed to a Failed Strategy In A War He Has No Plans to Win.

obamacareThere has been a notable kerfuffle in the media after the ISIS attack in Paris. Why are we getting nowhere in our response to ISIS? Why is Obama claiming that ISIS is contained, when it is so obviously clear that they are expanding into other countries? Why when France asked for our help in striking back at ISIS, did he just brush them off? Why did John Kerry make perhaps the worst flub ever committed by a Secretary of State after the Paris attack when he spoke  to families and staff at the embassy in Paris, effectively saying that Charlie Hebdo kind of asked for it you know. We have supposedly been “containing” ISIS for months yet accomplishing nothing.

Last week, Byron York reported that a military strike near Abu Kamal, in Syria, destroyed 116 fuel trucks out of nearly 300 massed on the ground. Not the first time we have hit the Islamic State oil trucks, but the first time we have hit so many, according to a coalition spokesman.  So there are 300 sitting there, and we could only destroy 116? Apparently the answer is that Obama has been worried about civilian casualties. What if a civilian was driving one of those trucks or standing nearby? General Jack Keane, a retired army four star general, said that Obama’s rules of engagement have hobbled our military to an unprecedented extent.

Such worries are entirely consistent with the entire U.S. war against the Islamic State. “Our air campaign, since it began, has been the most restrictive in terms of rules of engagement that we have ever entered into in the last 25 years,” said Jack Keane, a retired Army four-star general who now chairs the Institute for the Study of War. “This has been largely due to the White House’s insistence that there be zero civilian casualties, at the behest of the president of the United States.”

In Abu Kamal, U.S. planes dropped leaflets before the attack, warning people — Islamic State, non-Islamic State, whoever — to leave before the assault began. After waiting for an hour, the U.S. planes struck.

U.S pilots confirm that the Obama administration blocks 75 percent of Islamic State strikes. “We can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target on front of us.” Pentagon officials said the military is furiously working to prevent civilian casualties.

The New York Post pointed out that ‘the Obama administration just realized days ago that ISIS is one of the richest organizations in the world — with assets totaling billions.’ Its assets include 1) up to $1 billion seized from Iraqi banks. 2) Some $200 million a year from stolen Iraqi wheat.3) Hundreds of millions extorted from captive populations. 4) tens of millions from selling sex slaves and looted antiquities as well as ransoming foreign hostages. They cover the payroll with just half their oil revenue, so even if their oil business is decimated, they can keep going for years.

Speaking from the White House today, Press Secretary Josh Earnest attempted to reassure reporters that President Obama is taking the threat from ISIS seriously and is gathering as much intelligence on the terrorist army as he can. This comes in the wake of veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s report that her sources tell her that President Obama does not want and will not read intelligence reports on Islamic groups he does not consider to be terrorists, despite their being on a U.S. list of designated terrorists. That’s probably anyone connected with his Iran Deal. From The Weekly Standard

Speaking to reporters at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Obama said that, while the Paris attacks might have been a “setback” for his ISIS strategy, they would not change it. When reporters expressed surprise at his continued embrace of an approach that was failing, he lashed out at them for daring to question him. At a time when an American president might have been expected to show some righteous anger at the attackers and those who enabled them, Obama instead directed his fury towards critics at home who worry about jihadist violence against the homeland. It was a shameful spectacle, and a revealing one.

Barack Obama remains committed to a failed strategy against an enemy he has long underestimated in a war he has no plans to win. Nothing has changed. And this time, what’s past truly is prologue.

For Further Reading:

“The Long War Continues:” Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, The Weekly Standard.

“The Islamic War:” Victor Davis Hanson, National Review.

“The Poverty of American Strategy:” Kenneth Allard, Real Clear Defense.

“Obama and the ‘ISIS Recruitment Tool’ Canard:” Andrew McCarthy, PJ Media.

“Obama’s ISIS Paralysis:” Richard A. Epstein, The Hoover Institution.


Thanksgiving Break: Time For Some Serious Talks With The Kids.

AP_yale_protest_05_mm_151110_12x5_1600The campus hooplah has died down, as it’s time for Thanksgiving break. Even the community organizers have to take time off for turkey. It becomes clearer and clearer that that’s what’s up. Organizing for Action and Americorps community organizers are hard at work stirring up discontent. An outgrowth of the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and Baltimore, they are mobilizing mobs against “biased cops,” “climate change deniers,” “Wall Street predators,” and other assorted crimes against social justice.

They’ve had their power demonstrated as they get administrators to resign and faculty members admonished or fired or disgraced. But they don’t really have anything real to protest about. The hate crimes against blacks turn out to be fake, the fists held up in solidarity are unsure about just what they are in solidarity about. When those supposedly in charge want to know what the fuss is all about — somebody used the n-word, except there is no evidence. What do they want? More black studies courses! But there is declining interest in black studies courses because nobody wants to enroll. In today’s difficult job market, there is no demand for black studies, nor ethnic studies.

At Princeton the mob called for eliminating Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings. He was a president of the University, and yes he was a bigot, and went on to become a president of the United States. History is simply what happened in the past. You can’t change it , or make it go away by disapproving of it in the present.

At Yale it was about Halloween costumes. At the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler, the son of a wealthy railroad executive, went on a hunger strike to protest “revolting” acts of racism. Except the supposed acts of racism never seem to have occurred, or at least there was no evidence that they did.

Like the “campus rape culture” that never happened, Emma Sulkowitz has carried her mattress around in protest, but that seemed to be second thoughts about consensual sex.

At Amherst College, there are nonnegotiable demands from a student group that the president apologize for Amherst’s institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latinx racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native indigenous racism, heterosexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism.” Oh please. The community organizers may have got the mob all stirred up, but once stirred, they don’t really know what to do with it nor do they have any clear idea about just what they are excited about.

The safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings, are all nonsense promulgated by faculty more interested in social justice — whatever that is — than in scholarship and substance. No wonder some companies are looking abroad for STEM employees. Who needs a new employee who needs a safe space and no microaggressions? Every workplace on this planet has microaggressions daily. Roger Kimball has long investigated campus trends, notably in his book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education. (2008). Take a look at his other books too. They are directly applicable today.

Mr. Kimball’s article in the Wall Street Journal was accompanied with a photo of a girl with a bullhorn (You can’t have a protest without a bullhorn) in the Odegaard Library at the University of Washington in Seattle. The rally was in support of black students at the University of Missouri where Jonathan Butler, son of a multimillionaire railroad executive was conducting a hunger strike because someone drove by in a pickup with confederate flags shouting the n-word— except no one could be found who saw such a pickup. But the football team threatened to strike in solidarity with Mr. Butler, because of other racist utterances, also unproven. Forfeiting the football game would have cost Mizzou $1 million, so the students got what they wanted, but they weren’t too sure of what it was. Lots of solidarity though.

But everybody across the campuses of America was in solidarity with whatever it was. I hope the parents of the unruly offspring have a word with their kids over Thanksgiving and return them to campus suitably cowed or don’t return them and suggest they get a job instead.

This is going to reverberate across academia. It is an ideological fantasy, and it’s going to get much worse. A lot of parents aren’t going to be willing to pay the freight at elite schools if this is the result. Universities have gotten way too greedy on the governmental push on student loans to back an ever expanding tuition bill. The American people are firm believers in freedom of speech and the Bill of Rights, even if the faculty isn’t, and they won’t put up with much of this.



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