American Elephants


Willful Ignorance In The White House, Rising Danger in the World.

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This is the time of year when President Obama has to come up with his 2017 budget request. Reports have said that the president is planning to ask Congress for billions and billions more to spend on controlling the uncontrollable natural warming and cooling of the earth.

In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama repeated once again his belief that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, which he has said repeatedly, at least 22 times, insisting that it ranks higher on the danger list than terrorism, which he plans to defeat with windmills. Last week he proposed a $10 a barrel tax on oil production, since the price of gas at the pump has dropped and you probably won’t notice if it goes right back up.

His formal request is for $5.2 billion for Department of Energy Green programs — like all the ones that have already gone bankrupt like Solyndra. $1.8 billion would go to making green energy storage more economical. DOE would also get $880 million to make green transportation more affordable and push green fuels. The big drop in the price of gasoline is playing hob with the sales of electric cars, which aren’t all that green anyway if you consider where they get the electricity from.

The EPA’s budget is supposed to get a 50% increase, while 20 states are asking the Supreme Court to challenge their climate rule, which the states say “would cause “irreparable harm” were it allowed to be implemented.”

The National Science Foundation would get $512 million to study green energy. and the USDA would get $105 million for “competitive and intramural research funding to support development of bio-based energy sources that range from sustainable and economical forest systems and farm products to increased production of biofuels.”Even HUD gets more money to get more low-carbon energy into residential homes.

Biofuels don’t work, ethanol should be banned, and Obama wants to put more wood products or anything at all that could replace fossil fuels into your gas tanks. He believes that carbon dioxide is a pollutant (which it isn’t) that it is the cause of the tiny rise in the temperature of the Earth over the last century (it isn’t). We need more CO2 in the atmosphere, because it is a natural fertilizer for plants and is greening the world.

The EPA has released a finding that aircraft (except for Air Force One) carbon emissions contribute to climate change. This will be coordinated with “the International Civil-Aviation Organization, a branch of the United Nations, which is drafting a global standard for airline carbon emissions.”

And terrorism? The bigger threat to America’s security is that the military has not made climate change its number one priority.” A new Pentagon directive says that climate change must be a part of all Defense Department “programs, plans and policies.”

A huge new defense climate bureaucracy is being born after years of defense cutbacks. Our Army is the smallest since 1940. The Navy is the smallest since 1915. Willful stupidity. Obama’s former CIA deputy director Mike Morell told PBS’s Charlie Rose “We didn’t go after oil wells…that ISIS controls, because we didn’t want to do environmental damage.” ISIS just cut their fighter’s salaries in half, because of the drop in the price of the oil that supports their activities.

In the meantime, North Korea just conducted a test of a three stage Taepodong that could potentially carry a nuclear weapon to the U.S. just a month after they said they had detonated a hydrogen bomb. Iran is working on a “Mysterious new installation that’s tied to its nuclear weapons program.” Iran is using North Korea to develop their nuclear program and are cooperating on their missile program. North Korea calls it a “satellite launch” which doesn’t fool anybody but Obama.

Investors says: “Closer to home, there have been at least 81 major terrorist threats against the U .S. since 9/11, the most recent just last month, according to the Heritage Foundation.” The administration tries to palm off their passivity with the term “strategic patience.” Obama has always hidden behind a carefully constructed web of clever words. Sometimes it works.



Social Justice, The Attack on Freedom, and The Drive for Control.

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— Under the United States Constitution, laws are supposed to be made and changed by the legislature, not by the president and his unelected bureaus and agencies and departments. They call laws issued by the president or one of his minions “administrative law,” which sounds innocuous unless you really stop and think about it.

Most presidents, facing defeat at the polls, make an effort to  try for  bipartisanship. Obama does not operate that way. He despises Republicans, and has set all his legal people to work trying to find ways to pass everything he wants on his own authority.

So here we go again. A proposed rule from the Department of Labor would compel businesses to reveal the names of outside attorneys or labor relations consulting firms with whom they contract. Then the consultants and attorneys contracted would be required to publicly disclose all other similar clients and how much they were paid for their services. George Leef says:

There is nothing illegal in contracting with attorneys and consultants who advise management on the legalities of and tactics relating to fending off unionization. But with time running out in the Obama administration to do favors for Big Labor, the Labor Department wants to do as much as it can to deter companies from dealing with such specialists.

The applicable federal law is the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. That law was catalyzed by the explosive McClellan Committee hearings in 1957-8, which disclosed, as the statute recites, “a number of instances of breach of trust, corruption, disregard for the rights of individual employees, and other failures to observe high standards of responsibility and ethical conduct….” The thrust of the law, therefore, was to increase transparency on the part of both companies and unions.

One provision of the LMRDA requires employers to name consultants they hired who directly spoke to workers, to solve the supposed problem of workers not realizing when they were being sweet-talked by management allies. But the law also includes an exception (Section 203c) for those who simply give advice to the company.

— If you can’t confiscate America’s guns because the public and the Congress won’t approve, there must be another way:  It’s called “Operation Choke Point” which is a Justice Department effort to require, through the FDIC — forcing banks to stop providing financial services to certain industries.

The businesses in ill favor are lawful firearms dealers, payday lenders, escort services and other companies. Justice has encouraged banks to provide services to others like illegal marijuana sales, marijuana shops, abortion clinics, or radical environmental organizations.

Banks find the restrictions onerous, and require extraordinary amounts of due diligence and excessive paperwork. The government  hasn’t been successful at ammunition restrictions, or with false claims about gun shows, so they’re trying a more oblique attack. Congress has passed a bill attempting to end this improper, illegal run-around.

— The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) wants to know just how much you are getting paid. The administration is chasing “Income Inequality” not to make sure that some people are being treated unfairly, but for control.

‘The EEOC announced changes to its required EEO-1 report requiring employers to submit employee W-2 earnings and hours worked. All employers with at least 100 employees would be required to comply. EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) would jointly have access to the data for enforcement purposes.”

“Pay data will be reported in 12 pay bands (e.g. pay band 5 is $39,000 – $49,000) and by race, ethnicity, sex and job category (e.g. 13 black female professionals in pay band 5).”

The Obama Progressives talk equality, but they mean equality for the hoi-polloi  (which is you and me). They don’t mean themselves — such a big mass of hoi-polloi would require skilled administrators and executives and rulers to whom such pedestrian social justice laws do not apply.

Republicans talk about Big Government, and this is what they mean, but they are quite guilty themselves in sending their laws on to agencies and bureaus and commissions to administer. It will take a very able and experienced president who understands the problem of administrative law, and is willing to fight to do something about it.

You mostly don’t slip into Socialism and lose your freedom and autonomy overnight, it’s a long process, and you wake up one morning and it’s gone.



How Democrats Lie and Mislead About the American Economy

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—The correct minimum wage is $0.00. If you want to hire your neighbor’s 11 year old kid to mow your lawn or pull weeds, you should be able to offer him something under the current minimum wage.

The goofy Democrat line is “But you can’t raise a family on the minimum wage.” Well, no you can’t, but by the time you have a family, you should have some skills that are more useful than those of a pure beginner. We forget that employment, like everything else in the economy, depends on supply and demand. The supply of people who can do a simple minimum wage job successfully is very, very large. The supply of those who can run a giant corporation with 20 divisions, 20,000 employees and country-wide or international reach is significantly much, much smaller. The average tenure for a CEO as head of a corporation is only six years.

—Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer just announced that they will close more than 150 US stores — which will mean that 10,000 employees will lose their jobs. Shutting down underperforming stores will help to move the company back to health, when it can create more permanent jobs. Wal-Mart voluntarily raised its base wage to $9 an hour last April, but this resulted in a 10% drop in earnings. A Union backed group that has heckled the retailer to raise it’s entry level wage, was astonished. But the job losses are the direct result of the changes made at Wal-Mart.

—Here’s Economist Mark Perry at AEI with a list of ten reasons why economists object to the minimum wage.

Obama and Hillary are still pretending that women are paid less than men because America’s employers discriminate against female workers. The Left needs women to be victims, and Hillary is running on her qualifications as a woman. “Today, women account for almost half of the workforce,” Obama huffed. “But the typical woman who works full time still earns 79 cents for every dollar that the typical man does.” Bogus statistic, and Obama knows it, for it simply depends on comparing all women to all men. It has been against the law to pay women and men who do the same job differently since 1963.

Unless women stop getting married and having children, and start abandoning careers in childhood education for naval architecture, this huge gap in wages will almost certainly persist. Democrats thus can keep bringing it up every two years.

—Income inequality, the basis of the entire Democrat campaign, is a factor of demographics. Kids starting out have little income and may have big student loans, or renting an apartment or buying a used car are big expenses. There are more middle-age and old people now than there used to be, and older people tend to have more money than their younger counterparts simply because they have been earning money much longer.

A 70 year old man has been saving most of his life. He owns his home. his children are  grown, he gets Social Security on retirement, and has benefited from a life-long buildup of career skills and connections and is apt to have far more money than a 30 year old. There is a clear relationship between age and the median net worth of people in every quintile. There are more old people as the baby boomers reach retirement age, and the birth rate has dropped so there are fewer young people. Do not let the Democrats fool you with their whining about Income Inequality. Sheer Demographics.

—In his remarks to the Press on Friday, when he bragged about the wonderfulness of his economy, Obama mentioned the drop in the cost of gasoline as one of his beneficial outcomes. That happened in spite of Obama, not because of Obama, as a result of the glut of oil based on Fracking. Obama’s instinctive response is to try to slap a $10 a barrel tax on oil so he can raise the cost of gasoline at the pump — while having more taxes to invest in “clean energy” which is pure waste. Obama’s wind and solar investment, in spite of the huge subsidies and grants, provide a resounding 0.3 percent of America’s energy.

(additional sentence added about equal pay for women)



A Brief Comment on Obama’s Rose Colored Glasses

President Obama: press briefing, Friday, February 5, 2016, on the just released jobs report:

TGIF, everybody.  I wanted to stop by, because as you’re aware by now, America’s businesses created another 158,000 jobs last month.  After reaching 10 percent in 2009, the unemployment rate has now fallen to 4.9 percent — even as more Americans joined the job market last month.  So this is the first time that the unemployment rate has dipped below 5 percent in almost eight years.  Americans are working.

All told, over the past six years, our businesses have added 14 million new jobs.  Seventy-one straight months of private-sector job growth extends the longest streak on record.  Over the past two years, 2014 and 2015, our businesses added more jobs than any time since the 1990s. …

So, as I said at my State of the Union address, the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.  I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour plays in New Hampshire.  I guess you cannot please everybody.

Zero Hedge: 02/05/2016, 10;14 a.m.
Headline : “70% Of Jobs Added in January Were Minimum Wage Waiters and Retail Workers”

For those curious where the big jump in earnings came from, the answer appears rather simple: the reason, according to the BLS’ breakdown of jobs added in January (per the Establishment survey), of the 151,000 jobs added in the past month, retail trade added 58,000 jobs in January, while employment in food services and drinking places, aka waiters and bartenders, rose by 47,000 in January.

Simple: state regulations demanding higher wages for minimum wage workers starting January 1, which as discussed previously will promptly lead to employers passing on wage hikes costs to consumers in the form of 10% higher food prices starting in NYC and soon everywhere else.

This is the full breakdown of January job gains:

  • Retail Trade: +58K
  • Leisure and Hospitality, which includes food workers: +44K
  • Professional and business service workers, excluding temp workers: +34K
  • Manufacturing workers posted a curious rebound, rising by +29K. We are confident this number will be revised promptly lower.
  • Construction +18K
  • Wholesale Trade: +9K
  • Education and Health saw a big and unexplained drop from 54K to 6K
  • Information services added just 1K workers
  • As for sectors losing workers included Temp Help workers, Transportation and Warehousing (courtesy of the truck and train recession), Mining and Logging, and Government workers.


Politicians Dream and Create Nightmares for Businessmen

McGovern
A little history: George McGovern was a Senator from South Dakota. After college, he became a bomber pilot in the Air Force in World War II, then got a PhD in History and became a professor. In 1957 he became a U.S. Congressman, and then a Senator in 1967. He ran a grassroots campaign for the presidency in 1972, and lost in the biggest landslide in history, winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. He retired from the Senate in 1981 after a long and distinguished career.

He spent several years on public lectures around the world, for he was an expert in world food problems, and in 1988, invested most of the earnings from the lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut’s Stratford Inn. He had always been fascinated with Inns, hotels and restaurants, and it was “the realization of a lifelong dream to own an Inn with a restaurant and public conference facility, complete with an experienced manager and staff.”

He promptly went bankrupt, and in 1992 he wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, headed with a quotation from Justice Felix Frankfurter:

Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought
not to reject it merely because it comes late.

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow. Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey and others have, I believe, changed the debate of our party. We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: “Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.” It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

The article was truly notable, for it was a pretty big  admission from a devout liberal that legislators didn’t have a clue about business. “One-size-fits-all” rules ignore the reality of the marketplace, and the thresholds they set for ‘regulatory guidelines’  don’t fit the reality of how business works.

Congressional Democrats may have had a few moments of reconsideration, but they quickly went right back to their comfortable, traditional  way of despising business and businessmen and trying to extract more taxes from the affluent in order to make everything more equal and more “fair.”

Senator McGovern died in 2012 at the age of 90.



Free Markets, Free People, Free Minds, Free Speech

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How do  you make an economy grow and prosper? An constant theme among the Democrats focuses on dividing up existing wealth. They are quite sure that affluent Americans have reached their wealthy state at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Their solution is to take the excess wealth from the rich and give it to the poor in the form of government grants of one sort or another.

The important point is that there is no growth nor prosperity in their plan. Bernie Sanders can promise free college for all which he intends to accomplish by taking more money from the rich, whether in much higher taxes on their income or some kind of direct grab of their untaxed wealth in offshore shelters or wherever they are hiding it.

The problem is that the Democrats are far more interested in “equality” than they are in creating wealth. They really don’t understand how wealth is created, they are much more caught up in class envy. A constant theme of the current Democratic presidential race has been income inequality, with a belief that America’s rich have reached their status at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Perhaps they always think of wealth as a pie, divided into servings, and the rich get the big pieces so there is little left for the poor.

They are big on “diversity” so they are currently intent on moving poor minorities into well-to-do suburban neighborhoods. Every neighborhood should be diverse, no more black neighborhoods or ethnic neighborhoods. My German ancestors came to Germantown in Pennsylvania when they arrived in America. Human beings are tribal, and want to live with people who are like themselves, and speak the same language, and eat the same kind of food, celebrate the same holidays — it’s natural, and happened with most ethnic groups who immigrated.

How do you create wealth? New small businesses start and gradually grow into big businesses, not all of them of course — but all big businesses once started as little businesses.

And those small businesses began with an idea. How do you generate ideas? Some of them start with irritation with a tool, for example, when someone is frustrated with a tool that does not accomplish the desired task, and they just figure there must be a better way.  For most, it stops there because they have no idea how to turn their idea into a business. Those who create a business don’t necessarily have knowledge of how to successfully run a business. And how to run a business is divided up into many different skill sets.

All those inventions that have changed the world — think of how Edison’s little lightbulb changed life all across the world, and all the millions of other inventions and businesses that have derived from cheap, dependable light— when the sun goes down.

It’s autonomy — the quality or state of being independent, free and self directing. The capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, uncoerced decision. Why do the Democrats hate freedom so much?



A Bill Has Been Introduced In The House Requiring Young Women to Register for the Draft

heavywheeledmechanics

Since the Department of Defense has declared women are to have access to all combat roles. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran, and Rep. Ryan Zinke, a retired Navy SEAL commander have introduced a bill in the House to include women in the draft. The act would require women between the ages of 18 and 26 to register for the draft just 90 days after Secretary Ash Carter tells Congress that all military jobs are now open to women who qualify.

Hunter believes that allowing women in all combat roles is irresponsible, especially after the Marine Corps has strenuously  objected  as has the special operations community, and he might even vote against it as it moves through the annual defense operations process.  Rep. Zinke agreed that women can play an invaluable role in war. His daughter was a Navy Diver, and women can gain access to strategic sites that men could not.  But front-line combat positions are dangerous.

There are many roles where women are well suited, but the Administration’s plan to force all front-line combat positions and Special Forces roles to integrate women into their units is dangerous and reckless. The advice from the military comes from the people who have been in combat on the front lines and know what is involved. The Administration is once again substituting political correctness for common sense, and its own unfamiliarity with things military.

At a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing this week Marine General Robert Neller and Army General Mark Milley both stated that if the restrictions on women in combat positions is lifted, than all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft.




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