American Elephants


Communicating With the American People: We Don’t Like Being Lied To!

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“The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of America’s strength as a nation and the well being of the American people.” President Obama has not delivered a single year of 3,0% growth. The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years, rising at an anemic 0.5% rate after a 1.4% fourth quarter advance. Not good, and one of the reasons why so many people are angry.

From Investors Business Daily:

Legacy: The same day the 0.5% GDP growth came out, President Obama is quoted in the New York Times saying the country has done “better” than “any large economy on Earth in modern history.” Delusional doesn’t begin to cut it.

The only real problem with the economy, as far as Obama is concerned, is that he hasn’t been selling his successful policies aggressively enough.

“We were moving so fast early on that we couldn’t take victory laps. We couldn’t explain everything we were doing. I mean, one day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market,” he told the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Investors added that Obama didn’t “save” either industry. His only contribution to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy process was to protect union interests at taxpayer expense. Dodd-Frank killed many, many community banks. The stimulus was an enormous expense and accomplished nothing at all.

At a townhall meeting in London, Obama was asked about what he wanted his  legacy to be after eight years.

There are things I’m proud of. The basic principle that in a country as wealthy as the United States, every person should have access to high-quality health care that they can afford — that’s something I’m proud of, I believe in. (Applause.) Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good. (Laughter and applause.)

Well, laughter indeed, but no applause. In early days, Obama was hailed as a great communicator. He was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for merely talking about peace. As Noah Rothman said today at Commentary:

The image of Obama as the left’s Great Communicator was always a fabrication. Given how often Obama himself has admitted his persuasive skills have failed his supporters, you might think this invention of a center-left media would have long ago been buried. Yet, it remains with us even today. Born out of a wish and unresponsive to falsifying evidence, the idea that Obama was somehow a marvelously successful communicator will probably be with us long after the president leaves office.

Mr. Trump’s foreign policy speech was similarly hailed as strong and wide ranging.  A lot of people believe what Mr. Trump said, and they’re wrong.

Mr. Trump: “NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the United States and has emptied our states — literally emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs.  Not true.

The North American Free Trade Agreement went into force January 1, 1994. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these were the numbers at the end of December in 1993:

  • Manufacturing employment: 16.8 million
  • Labor force participation rate: 66.4%
  • Unemployment rate: 6.5%

These were the numbers at the end of December 2000:

  • Manufacturing employment: 17.2 million
  • Labor force participation rate: 67.0%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%

After seven years of NAFTA, unemployment was down, more people were in the labor force, and there were more people who were employed in manufacturing. In year 8 China joined the World Trade Organization, and problems came from that. This is when the drop in trade came. China is not a good economic partner, but the Obama administration is negotiating an investment deal with China. Either they should stop or Congress should stop them. In any case, Mr. Trump is plainly mistaken on his major arguments.

 



Donald J. Trump Gave a Foreign Policy Speech Yesterday.
April 28, 2016, 6:40 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Donald J. Trump, buoyed by his triumph in New York and the surrounding states, decided it was time to put away childish insults and give a real, written down, prepared speech. It was titled “Donald J. Trump Foreign Policy Speech,” or alternatively “See, I am too a serious candidate and can make a real speech.

He did some tough-talking about “how to develop a new foreign policy direction that replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy, and chaos with peace.”

America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.

But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly look back.

We have a lot to be proud of. In the 1940s we saved the world. The Greatest Generation beat back the Nazis and the Japanese Imperialists.

Then we saved the world again, this time from totalitarian Communism. The Cold War lasted for decades, but we won.

And Mr. Trump hasn’t approved of anything since. “Our resources are overextended, Our allies are not paying their fair share, Our friends are beginning to think they can’t depend on us, and our rivals no longer respect us..”

That’s about it. He doesn’t understand trade, Obama made a mess of things, as did Hillary. We need a new long-term plan to halt the spread of radical Islam, and we must stop importing extremism. We’re going to have to change trade, immigration and economic policy to make our economy strong again. Technical superiority with 3-D printing, artificial intelligence and cyber warfare. Take care of our vets. Make America great again.

Hit the hot spots and tie it all up with a simplistic approach, without saying anything new or innovative. I ‘m very not impressed, but perhaps others will be. Trump is very good at hitting the big worries, and garnering press attention, but if you look at it seriously, he hasn’t said much of anything.

Here’s the full text of his speech.  I happened to read it followed by reading a commencement address at the University of Texas by Admiral William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Forces command, at the end of May in 2014. Different speeches, different subjects, different occasions, but the contrast is informative.



The Earth is Greening From CO2, And That’s a Very Good Thing.

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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming plan in February. But EPA officials are moving right ahead with a central part of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). They’ve devised a song and dance way to get around the order from the court. Court orders don’t have the authority under this administration that they once did.

The EPA submitted a proposal to the White House for green energy subsidies for states that meet the federally mandated carbon dioxide reduction goals early. The Clean Energy Incentive Program would give “credit for power generated by new wind and solar projects in 2020 and 2021” and a “double credit for energy efficiency measures in low-income communities,” according to Politico’s Morning Energy. …

EPA argues it’s doing this for states that want to voluntarily cut emissions — despite this being part of CPP.

“Many states and tribes have indicated that they plan to move forward voluntarily to work to cut carbon pollution from power plants and have asked the agency to continue providing support and developing tools that may support those efforts, including the CEIP,” reads a statement provided to Politico from EPA.

A report says that the Earth is turning greener because of carbon dioxide emissions, but America is not doing its part. Other countries are pumping out more CO2, shutting down wind farms, and the United States has cut its output. In 2000, America pumped out 5,868 million metric tons of CO2, then 6,001 million metric tons in 2007, and the figure fell to 5,406 in 2014. This means an increase in growing season over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated ares, which means more hungry people are fed, and more small children live to grow up.

Theoretically we all learned about photosynthesis in junior high or high school. More CO2 means more plant life. We breathe in the air, use the oxygen, and exhale CO2. If CO2 were poisonous or dangerous we’d all be dead from breathing on each other.

A new study says that if the extra green leaves prompted by rising CO2 levels were laid in a carpet, it would cover twice the continental USA.

Climate skeptics argue the findings show that the extra CO2 is actually benefiting the planet.

The new study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change by a team of 32 authors from 24 institution in eight countries. But the numbers don’t count in science. What counts is what the evidence proves.

Norwegian scientists , according to a 30-year long study, are finding that plants adapt well to differing environmental conditions — in contrast to claims that plants won’t be able to adapt from the climate worriers. “There is a kind of flexibility in the genetic material, …much like a ‘molecular thermostat’ that can shift the growth cycle of the plant” said Carl Gunnar Fossdal of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. “This phenomenon has great importance for the discussion around climate change.” The scientists speculate that animals adapt in the same way, suggesting that the evidence linking global warming to extinctions is sparse.

The Climate Change Lobby, like much of the rest of the Left, doesn’t like disagreement, nor studies that contradict their firmly-held truths. They want to shut the contrary voices up. No skeptics allowed. That’s why the word “skeptic” never passes the green lips — it’s always deniers — like holocaust deniers,  you see. They don’t accept mild rebukes, nor proof of error. It’s their way or the highway. They have too much invested in changing the world and ending nasty capitalism.



“Notable & Quotable”

The Wall Street Journal included these lines from the Mayo Clinic’s online entry on narcissistic personality disorder in their “Notable & Quotable” column.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement—and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything—for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection. . . .

[The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5] . . . criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance

Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

Exaggerating your achievements and talents

Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate . . .

Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner



Keeping the Government’s Hands Off Your Pocketbook!

History Professor Burton Folsom of Hillsdale College explains carefully why government investments usually fail. Professor Folsom has demolished The Myth of the Robber Barons, Explained in New Deal or Raw Deal how FDR’s economic legacy has damaged America, and now with Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy and in this short video for Prager University, he explains why Big New Ideas are better left to private entrepreneurs.

It’s a matter of incentives. When entrepreneurs invest their own hard earned money, they are careful and thrifty, I have not yet seen a bill for Obama’s investments in Big Ideas like Solyndra, Ivanpah, Solar City, and all the rest, and there’s the high-speed railroad to nowhere supposedly abuilding in California.

There are some lessons here to pay close attention to. Some presidents want to build monuments to themselves, and members of Congress are subject to the same temptations.



The Fraud Lawsuit Over Trump University Can Go To Trial This Fall

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A New York judge has ruled that the fraud lawsuit brought against Donald Trump and his real estate school, Trump University, by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will go to trial. This is an unprecedented situation where the Republican front runner could have to testify this fall when he is possibly in the process of a campaign for the presidency.

Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat, filed a civil lawsuit against the now-defunct Trump University in 2013 alleging that it exploited Mr. Trump’s celebrity status to persuade people to enroll in expensive courses that failed to deliver on their promises. Trump University defrauded more than 5,000 students in New York out of thousands of dollars each, according to the complaint, by billing itself as a real estate school and charging students as much as $35,000 for enrollment without having proper licensing.

A separate and pending lawsuit in California against Mr. Trump, filed in 2010 by former students, alleges that Trump University defrauded students around the country and made false promises about helping them achieve financial success.

A judge dropped one of two fraud claims in 2014, but in March a four-judge panel in Manhattan reinstated the claim and allowed Mr. Schneiderman to move forward with both fraud claims. Mr. Trump has denied the allegations and accused Mr. Schneiderman of “gross incompetence” and of “wasting millions” in taxpayer money.

Students could take a free introductory course, and then sign up for three-day seminars at a cost of $1,495. They were then encouraged to buy advanced training programs for about $35,000.

The institution rebranded the “university” in 2010 and renamed itself the “Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.” According to court documents it informed the New York Department of Education that it had ceased operation in 2010.



We Need a Remedial Course in Knowing, How to Retain Knowledge and What to Do With It.

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One of my perennial worries is about the state of knowledge. The world is, of course, always changing, but what has changed most dramatically is the flow of information.

We seldom give it a thought, but in the early days of the republic, news was transmitted by horse and rider, or coach.  And then the town crier  cried the news —and the simple word of mouth. Most people didn’t  have books, except for the Bible. The Revolution, the making of the Constitution, the War of 1812 all happened without telephone or radio to spread the news. The new Capitol in Washington D.C. was burned by the Brits, and it took days or weeks for anyone to find out.

The great Civil War took place entirely without a radio or a telephone, no newsreels, but there were newspapers and magazines, and even new photography, which has left a first visual record for us. There were railroads, and canals and roads.

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876. Most people thought it was little more than a toy, but they soon began to install telephones in their towns, homes or businesses. The first one appeared in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1877 when a banker ran a line from his home to his bank.

The first transcontinental telephone call took place in 1915 from New York to San Francisco. In 1948 Bell Labs’ Claude Shannon published a landmark paper on “a Mathematical Theory of Communication” which provided mathematicians and engineers with the foundation of information theory which sought to answer questions about how quickly and reliably information could be transmitted.  Direct long distance dialing came about in 1951, and the first transatlantic telephone cable was installed between America and Britain.  It took 3 years and $42 million to plan and install using 1,500 miles of specially insulated coaxial cable.

The first television was introduced at the World’s Fair in 1939, but TV didn’t become common in people’s homes until the 1950s and sixties. The first public tests of a cellular phone system took place in 1978, and it wasn’t till the year 2000 that we finally reached 100 million cellular telephone subscribers.

Even the millennials probably know a little something about the history of the computer, but the kids in college who are protesting freedom of speech, don’t want to hear disagreeing words, need “safe spaces” and think buildings or statues, or crests that remind us of people who thought incorrect things in the past, should be removed.

Even Democrat Attorneys General and Rhode Island’s Senator Whitehouse are out to stamp out the utterances of those who have the gall to deny that a warming climate is going to destroy the earth.

The absurdity in the nation’s colleges and universities is happening at the rare time in our history when we are completely connected to all the information in the world, in an instant, at our fingertips. They are connected to networks of friends wherever they are and to thousands of people they only know through their devices.  Mine’s a tiny computer — roughly 2¾” by 5½”— and I can carry it around in my pocket, and talk to anyone in the world, and call up information from practically anywhere. But how am I supposed to know what is true and what is false?

We had to find out for ourselves how to deal with this flow of information and the even greater flow of advertisements and enticements and lies and scams. But we have had all the years of our lives to get used to things gradually.

Our schools, which are supposed to be the foundation of knowledge, have drifted off into realms of “social justice” and “diversity” and “white privilege” and women’s studies and black studies and college tuitions that range upwards from $50,000 to $60,000 a year and more, to receive less and less in the knowledge department.

Yet they are not only NOT teaching how to manage this flow of words and pictures and ideas, but don’t seem to recognize that the world has changed and they need to fill the kids on the past and how we got here as well as how to cope with the present and plan for the future.

Handwriting is out, ancient history is gone, what use is geography when you can call up Google maps in an instant? Social Justice isn’t even real. There is only one ‘justice’ which is found in the Constitution and the body of laws and in the courts. Students at Stanford (Stanford!) have petitioned for the return of Western Civ. Shakespeare is mostly gone, and Churchill is completely out of fashion. Yet there are more remedial courses in colleges than ever before, because too many students arrive unprepared to do college level work.

A political campaign is a bad time to bring up this subject, but it is the moment of our highest awareness. You can’t help but notice. When Hillary is attempting to make equal pay for women a central part of her campaign — and is unaware that it has been the law since 1963, She mentioned last year that Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism, more than once, in spite of the obvious facts of 9/11, Paris and Brussels. Bernie Sanders is espousing the most discredited political system the world has ever known, which is failing before our eyes in Venezuela, and Cuba, and other countries around the world.

I picked up a book a while back called Too Big To Know by David Weinberger, read some bits and put it aside to read later. Guess I’ll have to read it now.Here’s one paragraph from the Prologue:

So we are in a crisis of knowledge at the same time that we are in an epochal exaltation of knowledge. We fear for the institutions on which we have relied for trustworthy knowledge, but there’s also a joy we can feel pulsing through our culture. It comes from a different place. It comes from the networking of knowledge. Knowledge now lives not just in libraries and museums and academic journals. It lives not just in the skulls of individuals. Our skulls and our institutions are simply not big enough to contain  knowledge. Knowledge is now a property of the network, and the network embraces businesses, governments, media, museums, curated collections, and minds in communication.

I wouldn’t have chosen the words ‘exaltation of knowledge’, nor described it in quite those terms, but I’ll have to read the book. I’ll report back when I have.

*The photo is of the Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin, and those are the stacks.




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