American Elephants


Raul Castro Has Resigned From the Presidency of Cuba by The Elephant's Child

The General Assembly has voted in a new president, the hand-picked former Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The Constitution of Cuba is modeled after the Soviet Union’s and similar to modern-day China’s meaning the legislature has full control over who becomes president and who joins his cabinet. The former vice president has a reputation for following orders very successfully.

Many of our news outlets assumed that this was a big deal, but it is not. Raul Castro remains to run the Communist Party, which runs everything else.

Chapter I, Article 5 of the Cuban constitution makes the Communist Party “the superior directing body of society and the State, which organizes and orients the common efforts towards the end of the construction of socialism and advancement of communist society.” This makes the head of the Communist Party—Castro—the “superior” director of the State, above his future successor.

Who remains as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of Cuba is not entirely clear from the constitution, as Fidel and Raúl Castro have typically been both president and comandante.

The head of government’s powers are fairly limited:

  • Represent the State and Government and manage general policy
  • Organizing and lead activities by the Council of Ministers
  • Control and attend to the development of activities at the ministries

Last year, Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote in the Wall Street Journal about a brief uprising of a” Venezuelan National Guard Captain and some 20 others who had gotten some 120 rifles, ammunition and grenades from an armory at Fort Paramacay in Valencia. There were unconfirmed reports of similar raids at other military installations. ”

“The Cuba-controlled military regime put tanks in the streets and unleashed a hunt for the fleeing soldiers.” She added that “Cuba had embedded about 50 high-ranking Cuban military officers, 4,500 Cuban soldiers in nine battalions, and 34,000 doctors and health professionals in Venezuela,  with orders to defend the tyranny with arms. Cuba provides Maduro’s personal security and thousands of other Cubans hold key positions of the State, Government, military and intelligence and counterintelligence services.” What their part is in the starvation in Cuba is unknown.

Burning Cuban flags, when they can be had, is now practically a national pastime in Venezuela because Venezuelans understand the link between their suffering and Havana. The Castro infiltration began over a decade ago when Fidel sent thousands of Cuban agents, designated as teachers and medical personnel, to spread propaganda and establish communist cells in the barrios.

In an August column, O’Grady pointed out that Cuba is not “simply a dictatorship.” For the regime it is a “historical political project” aiming for the establishment of a Cuban-type regime throughout Latin America. The Cubans have taken Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and are now going after Columbia. Castro is dependent on Venezuelan oil and the money from the narcotics business. Fidel died at 90, and Raul is getting up there. There are a number of younger Castros in government, but future succession is unknown.

Now Venezuela cannot afford to export oil, and is having to import oil itself. The people are starving, and trying to get out of the country. Lefties are always sure that those other people just didn’t do it right, but Communism has a way of always ending up very, very badly.

Advertisements


Life’s Little Surprises Always Await Us. by The Elephant's Child

In the Wall Street Journal today, James Freeman brought up the historic tax reform that Trump signed in December may turn out to be his finest hour, ‘trumping’ even  the firing of James Comey. So many companies have reported positive news from the tax law, even though it’s barely four months old.  The Journal calculated that the four giants of American retail banking— JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America have saved a total of $2.3 billion in the first quarter thanks to the new federal corporate tax rate of 21%, down from 35%.

Is that a big deal? Nancy Pelosi is arguing that the tax cut is a useless disaster, and when the Democrats get back in they will promptly raise taxes back to where they should be. (This is a campaign promise? Why?)

Wages have been growing. “Kroger, Walmart, Target Corp. and other food retailers are investing savings from the federal tax law to boost worker pay and benefits, ” the Journal reported recently. John Kartch at the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform has been keeping a running tally of businesses (now 507) responding to their lower tax bills by announcing pay raises, bonuses, and higher 401K matches. The good news began to arrive almost as soon as President Trump signed the legislation.

Democrats seem to have a hard time getting their minds around the basic consequences of economic incentives. The Labor Department has reported that this is oficially the best job market for those seeking work in the history of  U.S. government statistics. Lefties are quite sure that the best results come from soaking the rich, by which they seem to mean the Koch Brothers, rather than themselves and their friends and supporters.

Ann Althouse notes that a new WaPo poll “finds that the gap between support for Deocatic vs. Republican House candidates dropped more than half since the beginning of the year.” A WaPo/ABC News poll found that 78 percent of registered voters considered voting for a candidate whose views on gun rights and gun control matched their own was either very or extremely important. 21% said it was somewhat or not important at all.

Investors Business Daily reported in an editorial on the macroeconomic effects of the tax reform bill. The Congressional Budget Office admitted that they had vastly overestimated the cost of the Trump tax cuts, because it didn’t account for the strong economic growth they would generate.

In any case, the CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

The CBO report also makes clear that this faster-growing economy will offset most of the costs of the Trump tax cuts.

In a table buried in the appendix of the CBO report, it shows that, before accounting for economic growth, the tax cuts Trump signed into law late last year would cut federal revenues by $1.69 trillion from 2018-2027.

But it goes on to say that higher rate of GDP growth will produce $1.1 trillion in new revenues. In other words, 65% of the tax cuts are paid for by extra economic growth.

Well, goodness. There might just be some reason to question conventional wisdom. The Center for Immigration Studies reported a few weeks ago that Trump’s Wall on our Southern Border would, over time, pay for itself, because illegal immigrants add a lot of cost with their dependence on welfare, crime, benefits and health care.  Who knew?  One can only urge Ms. Pelosi to keep railing about the necessity of raising taxes.

Among other surprises, a previously unknown asteroid the size of a football field had a near miss with Earth on Sunday. It came within one half of the distance to the moon.  It was the largest known asteroid to pass that close to Earth in observational history. Life always has interesting little surprises for us, even if we are paying attention.



We Aren’t Recognizing the Anger and Despair! by The Elephant's Child

Former FBI  Director James Comey’s new book is being released today, and he will be on a long book tour trying to push the book. He hates President Trump, whines like a 9-year-old, and reflects badly on the organization that he formerly headed. He expected Hillary to win, his wife was really excited about having a female president. He has not behaved well, and serious FBI people are concerned for the reputation of the agency.

Democrats clearly expected Hillary to win, but for the most part they seem to be pretty much done with her. I think that it wasn’t so much Hillary’s loss, but that red map of all the counties in the country that went for Trump. I suspect that they didn’t even consider the possibility that Trump might win, it was unthinkable. All those Republicans, a despicable bunch, and most of the Democrats had particular Republicans to hate, but the idea that Trump could triumph attacked all of their sureties, their world view, the things he espoused were beyond the pale — cutting taxes, closing the border.

Republicans aren’t all that inclined to fall in love with presidents. They recognize that presidents are only ordinary men, with all the flaws and faults of ordinary men, perhaps a little more so, when they suddenly become “the leader of the free world.” The “Never Trumpers”, certified members of the ruling class, were appalled by his tweeting, although many of them were on Twitter as well, but a president—tweeting? Clearly beneath the dignity of the office! His speech offended! Dan Bongino, who is from Queens, said Trump talked like someone from Queens who was in the construction trade. Trump told the people what he thought, and who he did not like nor trust. Beneath the dignity…

Barack Obama was, as someone said—a real good talker. Flowery words, designed to rouse the emotions, but fairly devoid of meaning. But people were thrilled, including the Nobel Prize committee, Not much follow through.

I think it’s that map. The Democrats lost control of practically everything, a huge,  immense loss. Their reason for everything is control. They are the intelligentsia. They are destined to run everything as soon as they dispose of the annoying Republicans. They went to the best schools, they run the biggest companies, they have the most billionaires, and all the movie stars, and the Republicans are backwoods people, racists, sexists, deplorables from flyover country. Who even knows what is down there when you fly from one enlightened coast to the other? Hillary thought it was her due, her destiny. She’s still out complaining, but the Democrats are done with her, and looking for someone who can restore their rightful place in the universe.  Joe Biden?



Do You have the Feeling That There Is Something Wrong Out There? by The Elephant's Child

Do any of you have the sort of unsettled feeling that things are not quite as they are being portrayed? News made of too little information, asking the wrong people, not exactly President Trump’s “fake news”— but just an instinctive feeling that something is wrong out there. Here’s a post from Real Clear Investigations:

Broward County, Fla., school officials portray as a great success their Obama administration-inspired program offering counseling to students who break the law, instead of having them arrested or expelled. They insist that it played no role in February’s school massacre by Nikolas Cruz. They also claim that in fact juvenile recidivism rates are down and school safety is up, thanks to the program.

The evidence tells a far different story.

Broward County juvenile justice division records, federal studies of Broward school district safety and the district’s own internal reporting show that years of “intensive” counseling didn’t just fail to reform repeat offender Cruz, who allegedly went on to shoot and kill 17 people at his high school. Records show such policies have failed to curtail other campus violence and its effects now on the rise in district schools — including fighting, weapons use, bullying and related suicides.

Meanwhile, murders, armed robberies and other violent felonies committed by children outside of schools have hit record levels, and some see a connection with what’s happening on school grounds. Since the relaxing of discipline, Broward youths have not only brazenly punched out their teachers, but terrorized Broward neighborhoods with drive-by shootings, gang rapes, home invasions and carjackings.

Do read the whole thing. Things are not as they seem. We have entered an era when everything is being analyzed for its proportionality. There seemed to be a significant number of young students of color being sent to prison for commission of crimes. If the number of young people of color in prison for committing crimes was out of proportion to the general percentages of young people of color in society, clearly school teachers were cracking down on troublesome students because they were racially prejudiced. The “school to prison pipeline.” The Obama administration cracked down. Schools sending too many young people to prison would have to answer for their racism, and they would receive a visit from the feds.

This is apparently what happened with Nikolas Cruz, of Hispanic descent. His threats were recognized by the school officials, but because he was Hispanic and the federal government had said to ignore it, the school did not take the actions that they might have taken had there been no federal interference. The school had issued instructions that Cruz was not to be allowed to enter campus if he was wearing a backpack. And in their response to the killings, the school demanded that all students carry transparent backpacks so the contents could be seen. That does make it fairly clear, doesn’t it?

Tom Steyer continues to travel around the country urging college students to vote Democrat and to work for impeaching President Trump, thus aligning himself with Maxine Waters who is also demanding that President Trump be impeached. Neither one seems to have any particular high crime or misdemeanor for which they want him impeached—they just hate him. I suspect that Steyer is having fits over the useless environmental regulations being discarded, and perhaps the useless Paris Climate Accords.

Steyer is very green, and apparently a true believer that the Earth is dying without our immediate action to…? There are a remarkable number of people who appear at the front of any climate march in polar bear suits, though the polar bears are doing just fine according to the Canadian zoologist, Susan Crockford, who has become the world expert on all things polar bear and who issues a report each year on their progress. Their numbers are increasing comfortably, they are well fed and healthy.

When you hear or read something that seems, if not immediately wrong, at least questionable, do you plan to study up a little to see if it is indeed true, or do you just take the word of whatever article you read? Look at all the Lefties who insist that we would be far better off if we just kept all the petroleum products in the ground, where they belong. Wind and solar, their favored energy sources, deliver about 4% of our energy needs. How are their favored electric cars supposed to charge their batteries? How do our cars and trucks run? How does the food get delivered to our grocery stores? Starving to death is not a nice way to go.

Why do they keep circulating what Hollywood celebrities have to say, as if they know anything, or have any authority to speak out beyond the fact that we might recognize their names or faces?



Blogging Will Return! Sorry About That. by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. Taxes! Thought I was all done, and oops! Discovered a major mistake and had to do it all over. Done, proofread twice and once again just to be sure, mailed.

It will be nice to get back to commenting on the insanity going on. Apparently the American schooling system ranks down around 7th or 8th, and Finland has the best schooling system in the world. So what are they doing that we are not?

We are clearly deficient in history, or college students (College students!!) wouldn’t be trying to eliminate statues and names of buildings and portraits of past heroes. Who neglected to tell them that history is simply a record of what happened, valuable because it is only by looking at history that we can decide what to think and how to face the future.

They clearly have no familiarity with the past whatsoever. We’ve had surveys that may not be true that large numbers of millennials are unfamiliar with the Holocaust, and supposedly don’t know that the earth is actually round. You have to suspect that to be nonsense, but on the other hand college students clearly do not understand freedom of speech nor do they understand why one should have to listen to anyone speak with words that hurt one’s feelings.



Sunny Southern California And Smog by The Elephant's Child

Los Angeles smog

Scott Pruitt has been doing a great job of eliminating useless regulations at the EPA, so naturally the Left is going bonkers. Under the Obama administration, the EPA became a heavy handed armed bully, attacking innocent landowners, attempting to control all the waters of the United States, including the water draining from your downspouts. It was a vast overreach. The EPA was innocently founded by Congress with the idea that when great interstate projects were built, perhaps someone should be in charge of making sure they weren’t doing something damaging to the environment.

Downspouts are one thing, but Lefties are claiming that the Trump Administration’s plans to roll back the Obama fuel-mileage rules will increase pollution. Environmentalists have long blamed L.A.’s millions of cars and freeways for its smog, but even if most gas-burning vehicles were replaced by electric cars, L.A. would still have a smog problem. Los Angeles is a natural basin, ringed in by taller hills, a pollutant trapping topography, and sunny weather.

I lived in Los Angeles when it was smoggy, and it was bad. When you flew in, you’d look down at that brown soup and think— if I have to breathe that I’m going to die.

A recent study in the journal Science traced and measured volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Los Angeles. In the presence of sunlight, these compounds react with NOx to form ozone and smog. Car exhaust was once a greater relative contributor of VOCs and NOx, but engines are now much cleaner.

Researchers at the University of Colorado found that petroleum-based chemicals such as those found in deodorant, soap, hair spray, household cleaners, pesticides and other commercial products account for about half of VOCs emissions in industrial cities. Gasoline fuel and exhaust make up about 32%.

So, if you want less smog, shower less, don’t clean your house so often, but trees and people also emit VOCs. The biological sources of VOCs are also responsible for the blue haze in the Appalachians. The real target of the greens are automobile carbon emissions, but if all vehicles had electric engines, would we have enough electricity to support the country’s power needs and run all our vehicles as well?

Of course that’s why the Left wants to get us all out of our cars and into the nice electric trains they are building. The new Seattle Mayor is talking about tolls to drive on downtown Seattle streets, which isn’t going to improve her popularity.



Catching Up With Climate Science: by The Elephant's Child

A 2008 paper by James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies showed the true gravity of the situation. In it, Hansen set out to determine what level of atmospheric CO2 society should aim for if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life of Earth is adapted. His climate models showed that exceeding 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere would likely have catastrophic effects. We’ve already blown past that limit. Right now, environmental monitoring shows concentrations around 400 ppm.

There were no consequences. Real world evidence clearly demonstrate Hansen’s hypothesis is wrong.

…………………………………....…………………………

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may have a boring name, but it has a very important job: It measures U.S. temperatures. Unfortunately, it seems to be a captive of the global warming religion. Its data are fraudulent.

What do we mean by fraudulent? How about this: NOAA has made repeated “adjustments” to its data, for the presumed scientific reason of making the data sets more accurate.

Nothing wrong with that. Except, all their changes point to one thing — lowering previously measured temperatures to show cooler weather in the past, and raising more recent temperatures to show warming in the present.

This creates a data illusion of ever-rising temperatures to match the increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere since the mid-1800s, which global warming advocates say is a cause-and-effect relationship. The more CO2, the more warming.  (Investor’s Business Daily 3/29/18)

…………………………………..………………………….

From wattsupwiththat, April 1, 2018

Mark Fife writes that an analysis of  GHCN climate stations shows there is no statistically significant warming – or cooling.

In Conclusion, based upon the available long-term temperature data the case for global warming is very weak. There is evidence to suggest a hemispheric pattern exists. The evidence further suggests this is a cyclical pattern which is evident in localized temperature peaks in the 1930’s and the 1990’s. However, changes in local site conditions due to human development appear to be the most important factor affecting overall temperature changes. Extreme warming trends are almost certainly due to human induced local changes.  The entire article is here.

From the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). 4/06/18

A new paper says that there are unseen worlds of wonder under our noses. There is a new understanding of ultra-long timescales that we are too short-lived to perceive.

Prof. Essex explains, “Unlike the stable virtual ‘climates’ seen in computer simulations, corresponding real-world conditions aren’t stable at all. There are perpetual, natural, internal changes in play that take longer than human lifetimes to play out.”

No human will ever fully perceive this change. No one lives long enough.  But some astute people, in their later years, might just be able to make a little of it out.

Prof. Essex adds, “There is an ultraslow, mysterious, unseen world out there, under our very noses, that we cannot perceive. It’s beyond our measurement capabilities, and beyond the capabilities of our best computers using our very best physical theories. It belongs to a class of problems that we cannot overwhelm with data, or crush with our biggest computers.”




%d bloggers like this: