American Elephants


How To Win Back Rural Voters, Or Not. by The Elephant's Child

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The Left are having a hard time understanding how they lost the election and why it happened. President Obama cannot understand why rural Americans did not turn out for him and his successor since he did so much for them, plowing so much money into rural communities, for green energy. Democrats firmly “believe that they can win back rural voters by ratcheting up their pre-election mission of moving the country from fossil fuels to green energy.”

They are using calls to drastically reduce carbon emission to convince middle-class voters, many of whom voted for Trump, that green energy can provide thousands of jobs to replace those once held by coal workers. Democrat plans to phase out fossil fuels come despite the president-elect’s campaign to restore lost coal jobs.

“This is fundamentally a jobs message,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters last week in reference to Democrats renewed focus on green energy. “We represent a horizon of job creation that is as great or greater than any other industrial sector.”

Our embarrassingly ineffective governor wants to pass a carbon tax to raise an estimated $2 billion in revenue to pay for education and clean energy projects. Uh huh.

They keep saying that green energy projects create lots of jobs. This is nonsense. Wind farms and solar arrays are made elsewhere, installed by the people who build them, and attended by the people who install them. I haven’t seen a single installation anywhere where they brag about all the new jobs. Washington is blessed with the Columbia River which has many electricity producing dams that already are “clean energy.”

Wind energy is a favorite alternative energy source for advocates of all things green — and we use wind energy as an example of what happens when we deviate from using real science: we end up with high-cost, low-benefit boondoggles. (Much the same could be said about solar.)

The main justification for wind energy by its promoters, is that it will substantially reduce the threat of climate change. Unfortunately this is a political science position, not one based on real Science. No scientific assessment has proven that wind energy saves a consequential amount of CO2 — or that it is a NET societal benefit to us. NET, of course, is the key word.

True believers in global warming are essentially members of a religious cult. They have been told that green energy will save the planet from overheating or something devastating anyway. They are passionate, because what can be more noble than saving the planet. They have installed low flow showers and toilets in their homes to save water, while the government that forced the lousy showers and toilets on them insists that we must beware the rise of the seas which will inundate our coastal cities. Saving water because we’re running out and too much water on the coast does not make sense.

Global warming exists in the computer programs of the scientists in universities who have gotten all sorts of funding from the federal government to work on global warming.

Rural people who farm corn in the Midwest are very much in favor of adding vast quantities of ethanol to your gasoline. It has raised the price of corn significantly. Other than corn farmers, rural people are not apt to be true believers. They spend their days with the climate and understand hot summers and cold winters and cool summers and the lack of snow.They understand when environmentalists bewail the potential endangered species in a certain location that there are apt to be plenty more on the other side of the hill. City people who live in apartments don’t have that daily interaction and are apt to be far more gullible.<

I remember when earlier in President Obama’s first term, he and Michelle were visiting one of the Southern Adirondack resorts, and they went for a walk in the woods—apparently the first time they had done so. That’s not what a Westerner thinks of as “woods.” I think that was the first time I really realized how little city people know of nature, and consequently how little they understand of environmentalists claims.

No, you are not going to win over rural voters with “green energy.”

Currently, most of our energy and environmental policies are NOT Science based. Instead these policies have essentially been written by lobbyists representing clients with economic or political agendas. The predictable result is that almost all of these policies cost taxpayers, businesses, etc. considerably more than originally promised — and accomplish significantly less than we were assured. Additionally, there are usually numerous “unintended consequences” of these lobbyist driven policies that make the net effects even worse.

Wind energy is a favorite alternative energy source for advocates of all things green — and we use wind energy as an example of what happens when we deviate from using real science: we end up with high-cost, low-benefit boondoggles. (Much the same could be said about solar.)

The main justification for wind energy by its promoters, is that it will substantially reduce the threat of climate change. Unfortunately this is a political science position, not one based on real Science. No scientific assessment has proven that wind energy saves a consequential amount of CO2 — or that it is a NET societal benefit to us. NET, of course, is the key word.

Democrats, as true believers, are sure that climate change will defeat Donald Trump’s nominees. Mike Pompeo, nominated to the Central Intelligence Agency because of his expertise in intelligence and spycraft, and his mission to defeat terror groups was questioned persistently by Kamala Harris, the new California senator about the scientific consensus on global warming, and asked if he had any reason to doubt NASA’s findings? He responded that he would prefer not to get into the details of the climate debate because the agency’s role is to collect foreign intelligence.

Ben Carson was questioned by Elizabeth Warren  who wanted to learn what the doctor thought about CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, because flooding poses “a significant risk to public housing.” She also wanted to know what “other actions will you take to adapt to or prevent climate change while you are HUD Secretary.”

Perhaps they are just practicing up for the day when Scott Pruitt will be grilled about leading the Environmental Protection Agency. They really have it in for him. Patty Murray, our very own Washington State Senator called the Oklahoma Attorney General “a climate change denier.” Jean Shaheen of New Hampshire claimed he was a “capitulation to polluters.”

They keep explaining why they lost the election, and they’re right, but it isn’t exactly what they claim, but what they make evident that they do not understand.



There Are Real Reasons Why You Need to Pay Attention to Politics. by The Elephant's Child

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I have watched as many of the committee hearings on President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet nominees as I can, to find out more about just who they are. I am very impressed by the quality of these people. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have selected individuals who bring special  knowledge and ability to the office to which they were nominated. The difference in the caliber of people is notable.

The questioning in the hearings by Democrats was largely embarrassing. Someone has done a deep dive into the media to see what they can turn up, and issued talking points for the questions, trying to prove the Democrats’ constant cries of “racist, sexist, and homophobe” and throw in “Islamophobe, fascist,” and anything Russian as well. If that sounds like I’m saying the questioning wasn’t very useful, well yes, that’s what I’m saying. It’s the oft-repeated observation that “how can they be qualified to hold a cabinet office when they have never served in government?”

The obvious responses would be Constitutional requirements, being bureaucrats is not a qualification for anything, and that old “We the People” thing.

The nominees were clearly selected for their individual abilities and ideas, rather than because they gave money to the campaign or were early supporters. It’s quite a contrast with President Obama who appointed Hillary as Secretary of State as the candidate he had defeated for the presidency. And seemingly, created a cabinet of yes-men (or women). Obama’s approach was a little different. He famously said:

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

He also chose, it was reported, to have intelligence briefings delivered in a short paper that he could read, rather than be “briefed” by intelligence personnel. It is a choice of the way to conduct the office, but telling.

The Left, in general, blames everybody else for Hillary’s loss. The media describes her frequently as “beloved” which clearly does not seem to be the case. John Lewis not only blames the Russians for Hillary’s loss, but will not attend the inauguration since he believes that Donald Trump did not legitimately win the election. Hillary claims that the “Russian hacking” was because of Vladimir Putin’s personal animus against her.

Andy McCarthy wrote that “Disclosure of embarrassing information should not be confused with disinformation.” When the public hears reference to cyber-espionage they are inclined to think spies and sinister stuff, not “an effort to publicize true but embarrassing information.”

Hillary’s improper emails and the court fights to get them released had long been public knowledge and worrisome for those who pay close attention to political matters. Hillary’s emails were a very big deal because 1. they included highly classified national security State Department secrets and 2. She put them on an unsecured computer open to any capable hacker at any time — which she was forbidden by law from doing, because she wanted to hide the graft of the Clinton Foundation, which had considerably enriched the family.

Hillary was a known compulsive liar and had been known as such since she was the wife of the Governor of Arkansas. She was also publicly known as vicious and rude to aides, military personnel, and the Secret Service members assigned to protect her life. No one could name an accomplishment from her tenure as Secretary of State, except for racking up air miles. Benghazi and Libya rankled for those who were paying attention. I know that there are many people who don’t like politics and don’t pay attention. It’s a choice. But they do damage to all of us because they are not informed voters.

The latest excuse for Hillary’s loss is grocery store checkout lines. Those awful headlines on the National Enquirer and it’s competitors, made voters change their minds at the last minute.

Obama believed that the media was to blame for rural Americans not voting Democrat this election despite his administration pumping billions of dollars into rural economies.

Obama made the remarks as part of an “exit interview” put out by CNN. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pumped out $6.5 billion in 2016 to fund rural electrical utilities, housing and community development. …

There are a lot of folks in places like West Virginia or Kentucky who didn’t vote for Hillary, didn’t vote for me, but are being helped by this,” Obama said.

Those coal mining communities were really helped by getting unemployment and food stamps when Obama closed down the mines because of  his climate illusions. “Deplorables” indeed. As someone who grew up very, very rural, I can assure you that rural America is not exactly populated by the backward or unintelligent. Or Deplorable.

Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters will join John Lewis in boycotting the inauguration because she believes that Donald Trump’s campaign attacks against Hillary Clinton are impeachable offenses. Here’s Maxine on Chris Matthews:

“Well here’s what I’m trying to get to,” Waters responded. “If we discover that Donald Trump or his advocates played a role to help provide strategy — if they’re the ones who came up with ‘Crooked Hillary,’ if they’re the ones who came up with, ‘she’s ill, something’s wrong with her energy,’ and the way that he basically described her during the campaign — I think that is something that would put the question squarely on the table whether or not he should be impeached.”

So, you think you can commit an impeachable offense before you take office?” Matthews incredulously asked the California Democrat.

“Well, I think that at the point that investigations discover and confirm and can document any of that role in helping to strategize — they had a role in attempting to determine the outcome,” she answered regardless of the actual question. “That in many ways they used the information they got when they hacked into emails etc. — if that was used against Hillary Clinton in some way, yes I think that’s impeachable.”

Oh my!  I rest my case.



Five More Days Of Obama’s Frantic Efforts to Make an Imprint on History by The Elephant's Child

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The Democrats haven’t behaved this badly since they started a war to keep the institution of slavery, which they considered essential to their economy and way of life. It didn’t end well for them that time either.

Democrat hack John Lewis announced that he was not going to attend the inauguration, because Trump was not a legitimate president. A smattering of other Democrats said they also will not attend. Mr. Lewis seems to think that the Russians elected Mr. Trump. A newer villain seems to be the National Enquirer and other newsstand periodicals  which changed the votes of the Deplorables when they saw them as they were checking out their groceries.

Large groups of far-left protesters will try to disrupt and sabotage Donald Trump’s inauguration by creating blockades, destroying public property. A group called #DisruptJ20 is advertising for people to join them in a “bold mobilization.”  They claim” It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United Stated do not support his presidency or consent to his rule.” They got that one wrong, the majority of votes have nothing to do with anything. Our presidents are elected by the Electoral College, according to the Constitution. Hillary’s slight lead in the popular vote came entirely from California, which is in part why we have an electoral college.

There are groups with names from the past like Occupy and Blocs. There’s a Motorcycle group coming to the aid of Donald Trump. The Metropolitan Police Chief confirmed that security forces would be able to handle it all. It’s really quite embarrassing, and cringe-making.

In the meantime forgetting his promises to make the transition easy and graceful, President Obama is trying to use his executive power to somehow get a real imprint on history. Last week he designated three new national monuments, expanded another two including a school for freed slaves in South Carolina and a forest in the Pacific Northwest. He ended the wet–foot, dry–foot program for escapees from Cuba, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden, and announced sanctions against 18 Syrian officials for their role in using chlorine as a chemical weapon in 2014. Many departments of the government have increased hiring in case Trump freezes hiring.

As of January 13, Obama has issued 571 economically significant rules. (To be economically significant actions must have at least $100 million worth of economic impact. He can still do more).

The 1996 Congressional Review Act allows Congress to reverse a rule within 60 legislative days of its enactment, and prohibits agencies from issuing a “substantially similar” rule once it was overturned. So we will see. It is going to be interesting. Mr Obama will stay in Washington DC until Sasha finishes school, and apparently plans to lead the opposition.



The Hollywood Hills, Improved. by The Elephant's Child

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Got that one right!



How Do You Deal With A Problem That You Refuse to Recognize? by The Elephant's Child

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One of the British papers remarked recently that people were beginning to refer to themselves as ‘English’ rather than ‘British.’I think that is significant, but I’m not quite sure just what it means. The BREXIT exit is still in a state of uncertainty. PM Theresa May was not in favor of leaving the European Union, but believes that the people have spoken and intends to shepherd the nation’s exit. There’s been a  legal ruling that says she has to get approval from Parliament, but I’m not sure of all that either. Across Europe there is rumbling of populism, but what will happen remains unknown.

In Sweden, sexual assault has increased by 70%. Many are saying that Angela Merkel will not survive another election.  Mark Helprin, writing in the Claremont Review of Books suggests that Europe has constantly shifted between unification and dissolution.

The European Continent and for a time even the British Isles have been partially unified—by the Romans, Charlemagne, Spain, Austria, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler, and the European Union.  Even if it didn’t get very far, the Mongols, Muslims, and Turks gave it the college try, and then there was the papacy. The Romans were champions of endurance, but Napoleon’s stint was as short as he was, the empire of the Thousand Year Reich didn’t make it by 995½ years and the Soviets got only halfway across.

As it evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community into the European Economic Community, and the the Schengenized “E.U. plus,” bureaucracy’s pacific conquest of Europe was different, its weapons the ballot box, rubber stamp , and pen. Furthermore, other than in one civil war, the U.S. had shown that 50 states could unite to great advantage.

Now we have Britain ready to leave the E.U., Scotland and Wales want independence, Belgium and Italy want to break in two and Spain in three parts. Yugoslavia is already is pieces, Hungary may either be expelled or quit. Greece is a complete mess, and Marine Le Pen wants France out, and everybody blames Angela Merkel for inviting the Middle East in.

One need not be hostile to the idea of this union to know the essential flaw in its conception, namely the statist assumption that bureaucratic conceit will prevail over geography, history, tradition and individual attachments, preferences, and loyalties. Greek profligacy and German prudence cannot sleep in the same bed. Good luck to the Frenchman who tells an Englishman how much sugar to put in his tea. Rivers, alpine ranges, marshes, and seas have carved into the landscape physical barriers that for millennia have shaped the economics, histories, and cultures of these disparate nations. Unlike the United States—at its founding English in culture and language, with a pressure-relieving wilderness to the west—Europe as it united was a densely populated grudge-filled continent with scores of major languages and their dialects. Its people had been governed in a hundred different ways , fought countless wars, and inherited dozens of philosophical traditions.

Grand designs don’t work. If government becomes a machine, then everything becomes a machine part. This is where the Left’s dream of addressing human needs with a universal mechanism always fails and fails badly. Humanity cannot be fixed. Human nature may be untidy, but any war against that untidiness is designed to fail.

But the question of the invasion of Europe by Islamist “refugees” can be avoided only so long. As I said, Sweden has had an increase of 70% in sexual assaults. There are No-Go areas everywhere, where even the police are reluctant or refuse to go. Angela Merkel invited the refugees; empathy and kindness were presumed to be the way to welcome them. The hordes have more young men than families, and the young men are of military age. They have been instructed by their religion that European women, as unbelievers, are whores and fair game., and assaults are the rule. Hungary has put up a wall and is refusing to admit refugees. ISIS brags that they have sent their forces to Europe. Many of the refugees refuse to work and expect to be supported.

Refugees seem to be from all over, including Russia and Africa. If the morality you have been taught is empathy and religious freedom, it’s very difficult to turn hostile without feeling like a bad person. Syria is obviously a battleground and unsafe, but Syrian passports are cheap and readily available. Terrorist attacks happen and are deadly. Top that mess off with an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels that is not responsive to the fears of the people, and there  you are. What do you do, what do you believe and how do you deal with it? Nobody seems ready to decide, but to just wait and see how things work out.   There will be more terrorist attacks.

Our history is not the same as Europe’s, and our immigrants have mostly wanted to become Americans, learned the language, and in a generation or two become indistinguishable from anyone else. But we have had an administration that refuses to identify terrorism by name. And in his “farewell speech” Obama blithely said that we haven’t had any terrorist attacks here. I’m not sure that that is any less avoidance than Europe’s, and the results of avoidance will be undoubtedly be much the same.

 



Andrew Klavan’s “One State Solution” by The Elephant's Child

Obama hasn’t managed to get his much vaunted two-state solution, possibly because there has never been a state of Palestine. Israel has pointed out over and over that they would be happy to have a two state solution if the Palestinians will recognize the State of Israel, and stop trying to kill the Israelis. Arabs are citizens of Israel, and participate at all levels of government except the military. Israeli Arabs are the freest Arabs in the Middle East. Andrew Klavan may have a better solution.



Squeezing in as Many Last-Minute Orders as Possible! by The Elephant's Child

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There are only eight days until the inauguration. President Obama has given his farewell speech to a few thousand of his most enamored fans, who loved every single word, most of which were “I”.  President Obama has a legacy to shore up. So far, there’s not much there. Liz Peak, who usually writes for The Fiscal Times wrote a piece for Fox News on “Obama’s full-blown, year-end temper tantrum

Let’s be honest: President Obama is throwing a good old-fashioned foot-stomping world class temper tantrum. He is just beside himself that the stupid American voter elected Donald Trump. How could the country willfully dismiss the erudite recommendation of nearly every news organization in the nation – as well as Obama’s personal plea that not electing Hillary would be a personal insult to him? How could young people not respond to Obama’s call to “bend the arc of history in a better direction?” It is beyond comprehension.

But it happened, and Obama is having an extremely difficult time dealing with what may be his first-ever serious setback. …

So he is attempting to squeak in everything he possibly can in these last few days. He announced that his administration is ending the longstanding immigration policy that allowed Cubans fleeing their communist country to remain in this country if they can get here. The change means that Cuban nationals who come to the U.S. illegally will be returned to Cuba to face torture or death. “The future of Cuba should be in the hands of the Cuban people” Obama said. Unfortunately it is not in the hands of the people but in the hands of Raul Castro and his police forces, and they don’t like dissent.

Democrats are beside themselves with fear of what they see as “the new authoritarianism” of the incoming administration. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has been an outspoken advocate of charter schools, which the teacher’s unions oppose, but is for kids stuck in poorly performing schools, a lifesaving step for poor black children. She is also an opponent of Common Core. Reporters and Democrat activists advocated donations to the ACLU and other organizations devoted to civil liberty in the wake of an authoritarian government. It seems that Betsy DeVos has donated extensively to F.I.R.E. (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), a splendid organization that protects students’ rights to free speech, and is seeking to overturn an Obama administration policy that made it easier to discipline students accused of sexual harassment or assault. Way too many false accusations, and FIRE advocates for the interests of both the accuser and the accused, rather than just expelling students after kangaroo court show trials as activists demand.

Democrats in the House and Senate have proposed new legislation that aims to ensure that companies pay taxes on “excessive” employee pay. It’s meant to stop senior employees fro getting huge bonuses that the companies can deduct from their corporate tax bill each year. Nothing in the legislation to affect the excessive employee bonuses in federal agencies meant to use up the appropriated funds, so the agency can get a bigger appropriation next year. Under current law, companies can deduct employee salaries from their taxable income as long as the pay does not exceed $1 million a year.

President Obama has designated three new national monuments having to do with the Reconstruction era and the civil rights movement. He announced the establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Freedom Riders National Monument and the Reconstruction Era National Monument. The Birmingham Civil Rights Monument protects the historic A.G. Gaston Motel. The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama includes a Greyhound Bus Station and a site where the bus was firebombed. The Reconstruction Era includes four sites which will tell the story of  Reconstruction after the Civil War. He also announced the expansion of other national sites, the California Coastal National Monument and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The federal government is anxious to turn ever more private land over to the government to control. The problem is that the federal government does a lousy job of taking care of its parks and monuments.

ObamaCare is still trying to sign up the young. The failure of ObamaCare to sign up enough younger and healthier individuals to offset the cost of covering older and sicker enrollees is one of the big problems with the program. Trouble is Millennials aren’t anxious to buy coverage to pay for those older and sicker people. Which is just one of the reasons that ObamaCare is collapsing and Republicans want to repeal the law.

It’s all rather embarrassing. If Congress does not choose to ignore them and they become law, it is unfortunate and takes time to undo. If Congress reacts, that takes up their time that could be spent doing other things. Remarkably petty. But that’s Obama.

ADDENDUM: Obama is having the Justice Dept. Inspector General look into Comey’s  release of information about Hillary’s “private” insecure email systems at her home, run by some haywire operation in Colorado. It perhaps spread information about her emails a little wider, but her emails had been public knowledge for some time. Seven more days. Obama will cram in as many more regulations and executive orders as he can. So much for the peaceful transition.




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