American Elephants


God Bless The USA by The Elephant's Child
July 4, 2015, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, The United States | Tags: , ,



A Few Memorable Lines from Calvin Coolidge On The 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by The Elephant's Child
July 3, 2015, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, The United States | Tags: , ,

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A few lines from Calvin Coolidge’s address at the Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, Pa.
July 5, 1926

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

 



Polar Bears Have Survived for Over a Hundred Thousand Years. They Are Not “Threatened.” by The Elephant's Child

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The Hill reports that the Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft proposal for a plan to conserve the polar bear, which (they say erroneously) was declared endangered in 2008. Well, no, they declared the polar bear “threatened” in 2008. There is a difference. And, according to the most noted authority on polar bears, the bears are just fine.

According to Dr. Susan Crockford, last year:

Survival of polar bears over a  hundred thousand years (at least ) of highly variable sea ice coverage indicates that those biologists who portend a doomed  future for the polar bear have grossly underestimated its ability to survive vastly different conditions than those that existed in the late 1970s when Ian Stirling began his polar bear research.

The agency was undoubtedly told to emphasize the horrors of carbon dioxide, with the big climate meeting coming up, and Obama’s push to get all nations to line up in his attempt to eliminate the dangers of CO². The article in The Hill is, naturally, accompanied by a picture of a baby polar bear. “It’s for the children” or in this case — the polar bear cubs.

The top threat to the survival of polar bears is the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, the federal government’s wildlife agency said.

That’s the main finding released Thursday in a draft proposal of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) first ever plan for conserving the polar bear, which was declared endangered in 2008.

“Polar bear conservation requires a global commitment to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” Geoffrey Haskett, the Alaska regional director for the FWS, said in a statement about the draft plan. …

The agency identified several threats to the polar bear, but said that the loss of sea ice — caused by climate change — is the top threat. It predicts that three out of the four major “ecoregions” of polar bears will be decreased or greatly decreased by 2050, based on two separate greenhouse gas growth scenarios.

We cannot predict the future. Computer programs cannot predict the future either. Carbon dioxide is what we exhale every time we breathe. It is what polar bears exhale as well. Carbon dioxide is a natural plant fertilizer and essential to life on earth. There has been no warming whatsoever for 18 years. The extent of Arctic sea ice is at the highest level in a decade, since 2005, Melt is currently the slowest since at least 2004. Polar bears thrive in Hudson Bay, which is ice free three months a year.

A new paper from Dr, Susan Crockford explains that a fundamental problem with polar bear conservation is the fallacy that under natural conditions sea ice is a stable predictable habitat for polar bears and their prey. The essay in Watts Up With That? has a forward by Dr. Matthew Cronin discussing the problem of Lysenkoism in science, and if you scroll down, Dr. Crockford’s Summary, “The Arctic Fallacy: Sea Ice Stability and the Polar Bear,” and links to the paper and blog posts. Read the whole thing, and never fall for cute pictures of baby polar bears again. Don’t you get tired of being manipulated?



Regulation, Red Tape, and the Heavy Hand of Government. by The Elephant's Child

The health of small business may be the most important indicator of long term growth in our economy. But this spring has been a hard time for small business. Only 119,000 jobs were added in March, and although April and May saw the jobs market perform better, small businesses who make up the bulk of payroll services firm Paychex Inc.’s customers said the measure of small business hiring was off by half a percentage point by the end of May. Not a good sign.

In today’s world,  when the shift from a manufacturing economy to the information economy is the major trend in American business, the health of small business may be the most important indicator of long term growth. We need hundreds of thousands of creative new small businesses led by entrepreneurs who are attempting to take advantage of the riches of the information sector to provide new products and services.

The Left’s push for a higher minimum wage, and Obama’s new order to force businesses to pay overtime to anyone making less than $50,000 a year will simply encourage the proliferation of robots, electronic cashiers, and more part-time workers. Over time the creativity of entrepreneurs could provide the new jobs that will replace the ones being automated or outsourced. Cheap money and relatively cheap labor should be helping, but a number of factors are at work. We have an administration that deeply believes that more regulations makes life better, which is clearly part of the problem.

Big businesses can cope. When the minimum wage jumps to $15 an hour, a chain of drugstores can afford to install automatic checkout machines that won’t get $15 and hour plus overtime, plus healthcare, plus sick leave, plus being late for work. It’s not so easy for small business.

Control and Regulation and the heavy hand of government  have a cost. The Left is basically clueless. This time it’s affecting us all.



Look Out! The IRS is Going After Small Businesses who Help Workers Buy Insurance. by The Elephant's Child
July 2, 2015, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care | Tags: , ,

Female Owner Of Coffee Shop

Some small businesses who reimburse their employees for the cost of the premiums for individual health insurance policies, or who pay their employees heath costs directly will be fined up to $36,500 a year — per employee — under a new Internal Revenue Service regulation that took effect July 1, 2015.

The IRS is considering an employer arrangement that reimburses or pays for employee individual health premiums to be “a group health plan” that is subject to the $100 per-employee per-day penalty. The penalty applies whether the reimbursement is considered a before-tax or after-tax contribution.  This doesn’t sound like it would pass the smell test in the courts.

That penalty is enough to destroy most small businesses.  This rule under which small businesses that get caught helping their workers to buy insurance or pay medical bills —can be fined 18 times more than large businesses that don’t provide coverage at all.

Under the rule, which appears nowhere in the Affordable Care Act, employers who do not offer a group health plan, but give their workers additional pay to compensate for the purchase of health insurance or direct medical expenses can be fined $100 per day, per employee.  Over the course of a year that’s $36,500 per employee up to $500,000 in total.  The penalty on businesses for failing to comply with the employer mandate is only $2,000 per year. …

In fact, according to NFIB research 14 percent of small businesses that don’t offer group insurance reimburse their workers instead.  They think they’re doing a good thing but they’re walking into a minefield.

There is legislation in both houses awaiting action (S. 1697/H.R. 2911).

This seems to fall into the “You Will Obey” category.  The EPA also goes in a big way for enormous fines designed to make people fall into line quickly. I wonder how many owners of small businesses have even heard of this regulation? Typical Obama administration act — force compliance, issue more regulations, and be completely puzzled about why the economy is still in the toilet — but brag about the success of administration policies in the marvelous recovery.  Sigh.



Things Work Better Without Obama’s Overtime Rules by The Elephant's Child

When President Obama is not busy with annoying problems of national security and terrorism,  he will soon grant millions of workers overtime pay. Just a quick signature with his executive pen. Obama just does not understand how business works. He had, according to his biography one brief job in the private sector as sort of a copywriter, which he hated.

Businesses that pay salaried workers less than $455 a week currently  have to pay overtime as well. As a result, many companies, Obama says, are “skirting basic overtime laws, calling somebody a manager when they’re stocking groceries and getting paid $30,000 a year. He wants to raise the threshold to $50,400, which he says will make 5 million more workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay.

Journalists praised Obama’s generosity because he was going to “bring overtime pay to millions,” which assumes that businesses who are employing these newly overtime-eligible workers won’t change anything, they’ll just start paying them time-and-a-half.  Journalists  don’t understand how business works either, unless they specialize in business or economics.

If those workers weren’t getting a market wage, and were underpaid, given their skill levels and  the work they’re doing, they’d get another job. The Left has a view of economics that involves vicious managers who are raking it in, and almost enslaving poor workers who desperately need the benevolent hand of government to force companies to pay them a fair wage.

So in an economy where so many are out of work, businesses are hurting, Obama will fix things by insisting that everybody raise workers’ pay. And he’ll  issue more regulations. Some companies will make sure that workers don’t put in overtime, or ban overtime completely. Or they’ll bring in more part-time workers to avoid the wage hit, or perhaps they’ll just lay off some people. Or maybe they’ll just raise their prices, forcing consumers to pay for Obama’s generosity.



Just Hang On, It Gets Worse! by The Elephant's Child

The messages from the Iran nuclear negotiation are mixed. Some informants say we are giving up all inspections in order to get a deal, the White House insists that this is not the case, but nobody believes Obama any more.

We are opening a consulate in Cuba, though Congress has refused any financing. Iran will honor an agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. Obama will walk away from the negotiations. ISIS is a JV team, Rachel Dolezal is black, Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, ObamaCare is working and popular, the polar ice caps are disappearing, but the military has been sent to measure them to see how fast. We are more respected around the world than ever before. What is one to make of all this? Reality is fleeting.

The best explanation for Obama that I have found is from Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum, which I will include once again:

As a man of the Left, Obama sees the United States historically as having exerted a malign influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.

The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.

Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves.

This is important, and it was confirmed today in the video below, by “Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser to President Obama. He was the chief U.S . negotiator in the secret normalization talks with Cuba and has been a central player in the making of American foreign policy since 2009, both as key adviser and as the president’s chief foreign policy speechwriter.”

In this interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, they discuss the worldview of President Obama, focusing on Cuba, the Iran talks, and the continuing crisis across the broader Middle East.

Valerie Jarrett has said that President Obama has just been bored all his life, presumably not having been sufficiently challenged. He had an adjunct job teaching constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School, but his students indicated that he taught mostly Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which seems to be an advanced course in manipulating people to get them to do what you want them to do. That doesn’t indicate any particular deep study of the Constitution.

Obama appointed an extraordinary collection of Czars, and asks that his briefings come in the form of a short paragraph or two, with 3 choices of actions to take, and he’ll pick one. Other than that, he doesn’t want much contact with members of his administration and associates only with his small inner circle, when he’s not watching sports on TV or playing golf.

That kind of sums up what I have gleaned about what Obama does and why he does it. The mindset is so foreign to everything I know about Iran and Cuba that I find it almost impossible to absorb. I grasp his view of Iran, but I think he’s subjecting both America and Israel to  dangerous and immediate threat. Cuba, I just don’t get. We are offered nothing, and by encouraging tourism and trade, giving Cuba the freedom to resume their anti-American arms dealing and drug trade across Latin America. They have no intention of offering more freedom to the Cuban people. Raul Castro has said so.

Having lost control of Congress, Obama, never willing to engage with Republicans, has determined to just go ahead and do everything he wants to do. Kind of a nyaah–nyaah–just try to stop me! He will use executive orders, executive notes, just order things to be done. They always say that inside of every Liberal is a tyrant trying to get out. Or did I miss something when Senate Democrats are voting to repeal the First Amendment so they can suppress political criticism?




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