American Elephants


Another Train Derailment: Thanks Green Activists! by The Elephant's Child

derailment  - credit Bob Aaron-WCHS(photo by Bob Aaron-WCHS)

A CSX train composed largely of tanker cars derailed this afternoon in Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Adena village, a neighborhood close to the derailment, was evacuated after one residence caught fire when a tanker car slammed into  a house and burst into flames.

One tanker car went into the Kanawha River, and some cars exploded. All but two of the 109 cars were tankers loaded with Bakken crude from North Dakota, headed to Yorktown, Virginia. At least 14 tank cars were reported to be on fire, and there is burning oil on the Kanawha. Some cars have exploded, and at least one sent a fireball at least 300 feet in the air.

Two water treatment plants have been shut down to prevent oil from getting into the water supply. Residents will continue to have water for the next 6 to 8 hours due to an emergency reserve supply.

Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline keep reminding the environmental activists that oil trains have a record of derailing, sometimes with considerable lost lives,  and that a pipeline is immeasurably safer, but it doesn’t sink in. The oil will go to market, whether by pipeline, train or truck. We have many pipelines crossing the Midwest because they are safer and thriftier.

Our economy runs on oil, coal, natural gas and in some places—hydropower and nuclear energy. If we want an economy, and goods to supply the economy, we must have energy. Solar arrays and wind farms produce little energy, and must have 24/7 full-time backup from a conventional power plant. Sounded nice to depend on the sun and the wind, but it was always hooey, and a scheme to enrich favored cronies with government subsidies.

It was not known at the time of this report if anyone was injured or killed.



It’s The Little Things That Finally Get To You! by The Elephant's Child

Conservatives frequently complain about Big Government, and the excesses of Big Government that badly need to be whittled back.

There has been some celebration of the end of another extension to unemployment insurance which meant that some of the long-term unemployed suddenly went out and got a job. With a gentle kick in the pants, some who had been unable to find the job to equal their last position, decided they’d be better off with a job, even if it didn’t measure up to their hopes. (I defer to David Horowitz:)

Democrat campaign themes are monotonously the same. They scare voters by accusing Republicans of imaginary crimes. And always the same crimes: Republicans wage wars on women, on minorities, and on the vulnerable. They defend the rich and don’t care about the poor. Their policies inflict pain on working families to benefit the wealthy few.

Big Government is the goal of the Left. They envision a government that supports most everybody, because they like to develop policies that do nice things for the people. It makes them feel good to be Lady Bountiful. Nancy Pelosi explained recently when she spoke to an audience of musicians and artists in San Francisco. “they needn’t bother working, because the taxpayers of the United States would cover their health care. Without a job they would be free to focus on their talents, passions and aspirations because they wouldn’t be “job locked.

The “better world” to which the Left aspires is a bountiful government that takes care of everyone’s needs. If the program or policy is well-meant, then it is successful. ObamaCare, for example, includes people who could not afford insurance, and gives them Medicaid.  What a wonderful thing! It costs too much, so they just pay the doctors less, which results in few doctors who are willing to see Medicaid patients. So there you are—the ideal Leftist policy.

It’s that  “better world” dream that impels them. They’ll just raise taxes on the rich, and the corporations. It doesn’t really affect them, because they are the ones in charge. And the people will be so dependent that they will never turn to those mean Republicans who care about abstractions like independence and individual liberty.

That was the dream in Cuba, and they achieved it. The people are well cared for. Everyone gets an allowance of $20 a month, their health care is free, they just have to bring their own medicine and bedding, and the doctors are mostly off in Venezuela where their work is being traded for oil. They get ration cards for food. The infrastructure there is really crumbling, and the Castros are obscenely rich, but it is clearly working. America just surrendered to the Castros, that proves it. 

What inspired my rant about Big Government?  It seems the federal government has a major problem with federal employees spending their time on the taxpayer dollar watching pornography. “It’s appalling that it requires an act of Congress to ensure that federal agencies block access to these sites,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) as he introduced legislation. as chairman of the operations subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

An inspector general report released last year revealed that an EPA official who was caught with thousands of downloaded porn files on his government computer and had watched up to six hours a day while on the job. He was not fired.

The Veterans Affairs Secretary, being challenged by Congress over construction delays, and cost increases at a Denver VA hospital snapped at Rep.Mike Coffman (R-CO) “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?” Mike Coffman has served in both Iraq wars,  but did not respond at the hearing, in a later statement said: “I have never run a federal agency that tolerates corruption the way the VA has. I’ve never built a hospital that’s years behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget. And I’ve never been a shill for inept bureaucrats who allowed American heroes to die on a medical waiting list.”

On the West Coast, the ports are piling up as the ILWU (the longshoremens’ union) is doing a work slowdown to force the ports to give them automatic pay raises, or they will shut down the ports.

A shutdown would not only impact the hundreds of thousands of jobs working directly in America’s transportation supply chain, but the reality is the entire economy would be impacted as exports sit on docks and imports sit in the harbor waiting for manufacturers to build products and retailers to stock shelves.

The average dockworker makes $147,000 a year in salary, plus $35,000 a year in employer-paid health care and an annual $80,000 pension. Where is Ronald Reagan when you need him so? (You do remember when he fired the Air Traffic Control workers, don’t you?)

Obama’s Big Government is not working, and it’s getting worse every day. You notice one little thing after another, and begin to pay attention.



The Goal of Environmental Activists is to Destroy Capitalism. That’s Why They Lie About the Numbers. by The Elephant's Child

polarberonice

When historians write of the early Twenty-First Century, will they be shocked at the gullibility of the people, or will they be shocked at the extent to which the official temperature records on which the works of governments and their economies were distorted by systematic “adjustments” to the records to show that the earth was warming far more was justified by the actual data. Christopher Booker wrote in the Telegraph:

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record. …

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. (Read the whole thing)

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity — but to destroy capitalism(emphasis added)

figueres021015_345.gif.cms“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

Socialists, intent on the wonders of social justice and the ‘better world’ of their dreams, never, never seem to pay any attention to the monumental failures of socialism everywhere it has been tried. The  past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty  in the history of the world. An 80 % reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. Globalization, free trade, international entrepreneurship. The free enterprise system, American style which is our gift to the world. This is not the first time some greenie has blurted out the truth behind their campaign to protect the world from the horrors of the carbon dioxide we exhale every time we breathe. Go figure.

And of course, this is why National Security Adviser Susan Rice soberly informed us that Climate Change is a major threat to our National Security Strategy.



The Basic Problem Is That The Left Is Not Troubled By Lies! by The Elephant's Child

The New York Times Well’ column, which seems to be about ‘living well,’ is today going on about the reliability of human memory, and how memories can be distorted or embellished over time, and then wanders into consulting a leading memory researcher about Brian Williams’ long, long history of “distorted” memories.

I hasten to add that I do not get my news from NBC, and I’m not at all sure that I have ever watched Brian Williams. Scientific studies, researchers, fabricated, distorted, embellished, mistakenly, etc. etc. It’s still pretty clear that the embellishing served the purpose of making Mr. Williams look a little better in his own eyes and the eyes of others. And yes, everybody lies:” You look really nice, dear” and so on and so forth, but we all know when it crosses the line into something else entirely.

And we seem to be entirely into the “entirely” category. We are unable to decide whether our president lives in a fantasy world, thinks the common folk out there will believe anything he says, is purposefully distorting, or is just a pathological liar.

Then we have the IRS, the EPA, HHS, NSA, OMB, NOAA, DOE, DHS, VA, I could go on, but you get the idea, and these are only a few of the agencies that have been in the news for scandal of one sort or another. I can ‘t remember any time when there are so many questions about the behavior of so many government agencies, or any time when confidence in government was so lacking. This is not normal.

Congress is still trying to pry out some information about the attack on our facility in Benghazi, the murder of four Americans (one of them an Ambassador of the United States of America) and that was back in September of 2012!

We have a president, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who does not feel it necessary to pay attention to the Constitution, let alone the preserve, protect and defend oath he took on Lincoln’s Bible. The Constitution is quite clear that Congress gets to make the laws, and the President’s job is the executive part.

Is falsehood contagious? Does falsehood in the Executive Department spread to the agencies by some sort of osmosis? Or do instructions go out to each department head about what may be said and what may not? Examples made by the swift firing of someone or other? How does it all work?

Why do I find more clarity about an event in this country by reading about it in the British press rather than our own?

We now have the biggest science scandal ever, in which the official temperature records — on which the entire global warming panic has rested and about which billions of taxpayer money has been spent — temperature records which were systematically adjusted to show the Earth as having warmed significantly more than was justified by the actual data.

I reject the idea that it has always been thus. Candidates in the next election must convince us that next time things will be different. And we’re not going to be all that easy to convince any more.

So to clarify everything and restore honesty to the situation, NBC is going to suspend the aforesaid Mr. Williams for six months. At that point maybe everybody will have forgotten, or moved on,  and Brian Williams will have forgotten all those unfortunate misremembered memories.



Useful Euphemisms of the Hard Left by The Elephant's Child

RAMclr-020615-aloof-IBD-COLOR-FINAL147.gif.cmsWhy did Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast strike such a wrong note? David Gelernter suggests it’s to establish his own moral superiority.



Mr. Obama: “I’m proud of saving the economy.” by The Elephant's Child

obamairan-550x310

Fewer native-born Americans in the United States have jobs now than were employed in November 2007, in spite of a growth in the working-age population of 11 million.

What? I thought the unemployment rate was down to 5.6 percent. Isn’t that supposed to be a good number? Obama just said we had “the fastest economic growth in over a decade.”

“Unemployment is at its lowest since 2008, the stock market is surging and a host of other economic indicators show the U.S. is making a comeback—a comeback Obama is flaunting and taking credit for more and more as he embarks on the fourth quarter of his presidency and looks to define his legacy,” that’s from CNN.

In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs was held by a foreign born worker the previous year.

The 5.6 unemployment figure is a result of the way the Department of Labor calculates the number. The BLS does not count someone as unemployed if they gave up looking after four weeks of fruitless searching. If a worker performs one hour of work a week and gets paid a minimum of $20 —that worker does not count among their number of unemployed workers.

These numbers are from Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO at Gallup.  He adds that if an American works part-time, but seeks full time employment, that worker does not count as unemployed. He uses the example of someone who has a degree in math or chemistry but can only find part-time work because that job is all that’s available.

Clifton emphasizes: “There is no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term  and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.” He notes “Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that prov ides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44% — which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older.”

“All of the net gain in employment since 2007 has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal)…Native [age 16 to 65] employment has not returned to pre-recession levels” said a December 19 statement from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

On Nov. 20, President Obama announced that he would provide (by executive order) work permits to five million illegal immigrants in this country.He has also given work permits to at least 50,000 Central American migrants who crossed the border in 2014.

Overall, Obama has announced plans to give work permits to an extra six million migrants, in addition to the roughly eight million legal migrants that will arrive during his eight years in the White House. That adds up to almost one new foreign worker for every two Americans who turn 18.

Even Presidential Budgets that are dead-on-arrival can be useful. This year’s budget proposal is deeply flawed and risky. With the world situation today, the Middle East in flames, Russia becoming more aggressive, China building up their military — why would the administration suggest that the U.S can get by in the coming decade with a defense budget less than half of the historical average?

“I am very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today that it was when I took office,” Obama said.



Jonathan Gruber Returns With a Direct Tax on Body Weight by The Elephant's Child

JonathanGruberYou remember Jonathan Gruber PhD, MIT Economist, architect of ObamaCare, became famous for calling the American  people stupid, and for devising a health care plan that was designed to sweep everyone, over time, into an unworkable single-payer plan like Britain’s that is currently going broke. He has even admitted. sorta. kinda, that he knew all along that the cost of ObamaCare was not going to go down. Have to figure out some ways to save money. But he already did that — in a paper he delivered in 2010 to the National Institute for Health Care Management entitled “Taxing Sin to Modify Behavior and Raise Revenue.”He considered the case of cigarettes, alcohol, and obesity:

Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight. While it is hard to conceive of this approach being a common public policy tool in the near term, such taxation may be happening indirectly through health insurance surcharges.

It is important to remember that the  “Affordable Care Act” does not give you health care. It gives you a card that says you have government sponsored health insurance. It does not guarantee that you can find a doctor or a hospital that will accept your insurance.

They brag about all the formerly uninsured people they signed up for Medicaid, then to reduce the cost of all those  people, they cut way back on the amount with which they will reimburse doctors and other health care providers — which has meant that few doctors will accept Medicaid patients. Nice to have that card though.

In the case of Veterans insurance, Obama’s 2016 Budget Proposal, now that the VA scandal has kind of blown over, proposes rolling back the program that gives veterans the right to receive faster care outside of the scandalously long wait lists at the troubled Veterans Affairs medical system.

For Medicare, it’s the same deal. They added some extra gimmicks to make it sound like they were doing nice things for the old folks, then cut back on the payments to doctors and medical providers with the natural result that fewer doctors will see Medicare patients.

ADDENDUM: President Obama’s budget proposal is important only in the view it gives of his priorities. Congress will do the budget. Buried in the proposal is a $50 million cut to one of the U.S. longstanding vaccine programs for the under-insured and uninsured. This comes right at the time when we are in the middle of a severe measles outbreak, and the CDC is worried about how much it may spread. 102 cases so far, and both children and adults need to be vaccinated.

For the left, the important thing is that they have given the American people a health care plan. It makes them feel good about themselves. That the plan does not assure that you can see a doctor, or the specialist you need, or it doesn’t cover you when you are traveling, or costs more than you can afford — is not a big deal. They’ll fix that later. They really do think that way.




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