American Elephants


Foreign Policy At Work, Improving the World by The Elephant's Child

Russia has ample supplies of natural gas and oil, and has used that abundance as a political weapon. Poland wants to reduce its reliance on Russian energy and last week the Polish state-owned oil and gas company PGNIG, signed its first five-year deal to buy American liquefied natural gas. Our energy boom from the fracking revolution is serving American national interests and deterring the grasp of dictators abroad.

Gasprom. the Kremlin-owned energy company currently provides more than two-thirds of Poland’s gas, and other European nations also rely heavily on Russian energy. Putin has used that dependence as a weapon, and threatened to cut off supplies, and on some occasions he has cut them off.

In 2015, Moscow cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine. That year the United States surpassed Russia as the world’s top natural-gas producer and by February 2016, shipments of LNG from the US hit the export market. Poland announced that it did not intend to renew its long-term agreement with Gazprom.

Under the deal announced, Poland will receive as many as nine cargoes of LNG or roughly 30 billion cubic feet for their citizens consumption. It’s not a huge delivery, but is likely the first in a series of contracts. It will increase energy security in the region, and cuts back a little on Russian domination.

Sounds like a very good deal, that will benefit all concerned. It will even be good for Russia. Free market competition is good for everyone.

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Even The Democrats Should Be A Little Grateful by The Elephant's Child


Democrats were quite sure that by now we would be mired in a global recession, with the end of the world just around the corner. Tom Steyer is still pursing his attempts to impeach Donald Trump, sure that he has committed some high crime, but nobody has found one just yet.

Americans have a lot to be grateful for, though Democrats aren’t much on gratitude either. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ and S&P 500 have been hitting one new record high after another. The Wilshire 5000 Index says that some $3.4 trillion in new wealth has been created since the Inauguration, and $5.4 trillion since President Trump’s election.  Some global recession! Business is confident again.

In the second quarter, the real GDP hit 3.1 percent increase, and 3.0 in the third quarter, and the New York Federal Reserve predicts that the 4th quarter output will expand by 3.8 percent. The average feeble GD growth in the Obama years was 1.5 percent. Even the IMF expects the global GDP to rise by 3.5 percent this year.

Unemployment is at 4.1 percent—a 17-year low.  New unemployment claims were the lowest since 1974. American companies are expanding their operations here instead of shipping jobs overseas. Foreign firms are planning new facilities and creating jobs here. Taiwan’s Foxconn will spend $10 billion on a new electronics plant in Wisconsin, (3000 employees) and Beijing has agreed to invest $84 billion in new energy projects in West Virginia.

The Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline are under construction with 42,000 jobs to be created.  The War on Coal is gone. The fake Paris Climate Accords are over. Obama’s Clean Power Plan,  $993 billion waste of economic sabotage is gone. For every new regulation from the Trump administration, 16 unnecessary regulations are gone.

President Trump signed legislation that enabled the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire incompetent or corrupt officials. So far, the VA has sacked more than 500, suspended 200 and demoted 33. He has also endorsed bills that give vets a greater choice in their own health care.

These numbers come from an essay by Deroy Murdock in National Review just before Thanksgiving, suggesting that there truly is quite a bit to be thankful for. It is certainly not Leftist big government, nor conservative nattering over every tick of the tax bill. It’s plain, common sense middle-of-the-road centrist progress. There’s lots more as well.

The Justice Department is investigating Harvard University for possibly discriminating against Americans of Asian descent who argue that they are being rejected in favor of less qualified applicants of other ethnicities. And good for the Justice Department.

President Trump has appointed a commission to investigate the glitches in our entire system of casting ballots and how it can be made tamper-proof. VP Pence chairs the effort. Does that put an end to the Democracy Alliance’s Secretary of State Project? And there is Obama’s announced effort to work with Eric Holder to prevent any Republican Gerrymandering: of electoral districts. I think it was Judicial Watch that estimated there were 1,100,000 illegal aliens who voted for Hillary.

ICE has arrested 97,482 illegal aliens as of October 27. Among those arrested 70 percent were convicted criminals. In an international operation from September to November 267 members of the deadly immigrant gang MS-13 have been arrested. Gang members are largely from El Salvador, with some from Honduras and Mexico.

That sounds like a remarkable amount of progress to me.



Wind and Rain. Winter Approaches. by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light posting. Windstorm and power outages, disconnected. Unusual week, winter clearly approaches.

When I was growing up, we always had plenty of snow by Thanksgiving. My birthday is around Thanksgiving, and my birthday was always a sledding party. Winter in the Idaho mountains was not really a problem, because we were well prepared. We had our own plow on the jeep pickup for the times when the county didn’t get around to us promptly, which was usual. We had snowshoes. and plenty of snow shovels, and were particular about well plowed and tidy roads. It’s much worse here when it snows. Idiot city drivers.  And every road out of my neighborhood is a hill.



Trust and History. What Does History Teach Us, And What Does it Tell Us About Today’s World? And Whom Can We Trust? by The Elephant's Child


I hope you watched the video on “Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media” with Sharyl Atkisson, who I consider a good and honest journalist.

Today I wanted to recall the basic facts about the terrorist truck massacre in Nice, France. I searched first with Bing. Took me 24 websites to get to one I trusted, which was Zero Hedge. Tried Google instead: The 8th website was Britain’s Telegraph, 12th The Washington Times, followed by USA Today, The Daily Mail, GQ and CBS News. 28th was Fox News, just after The Daily Beast. I don’t like being manipulated by the Silicon Valley Oligarchs.

Tom Steyer, billionaire, who got rich running a hedge fund, and selling it — retired to become a political activist and climate true believer. He’s been running ads  and spending $10 million chump change (and then another) to get people to impeach President Trump. He considers himself an environmentalist, which means he believes deeply in “clean energy” (which doesn’t produce enough energy to even be significant) opposes the Keystone XL pipeline (which apparently means he wants the oil trucked or shipped by rail, which is not safe.)  Why these people can’t study up a little before they decide to just believe, I don’t understand, but they do.

Steyer, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and probably others of the Silicon Valley Oligarchs, with huge wealth, have decided to spend most of their wealth in their lifetimes, trying to improve the world. I don’t know just what Sundar Pichai. Larry Page and Sergey Brin have in mind, but Jeff Bezos, once he has decimated the retail industry is interested in space. And there are lots more of them. Bill and Melinda Gates wanted to improve American education and invested a lot of hope in Common Core Standards, and it hasn’t worked, as he admitted recently. Central planning doesn’t work. I know it sounds good to have educational standards the same for everyone, but there’s a lot of history that proves that central planning doesn’t work, for schools or for governments, or for countries. People are stubbornly human, and human nature is not all that cooperative. If you want everyone to line up and do just what is wanted, better be invested in AI, not real people. You might find it rewarding to spend a few minutes considering historical examples of central planning. Victor Davis Hanson has mentioned some lately.

But I think we have a problem with the Tech billionaires. Whether it’s Google or any one of dozens of other companies, we welcome the good products they have made, but they are getting rich on selling our information, and organizing us. When they start trying to control how we think and work, we’re heading in a very troublesome direction. We’re told now that the cameras on our computers may be recording our lives.When they have enough money to buy us all, many times over, it’s going to be hard to get across the idea that we don’t belong to them and they can’t run our lives to suit themselves. There are other search engines, and other browsers who do recognize the problems.

Amazon has Echo, which I guess is called a smart speaker. It does  voice interaction, makes to-do lists, and an control other devices, as well as listen to you and record what you are saying. The other tech companies all have their own versions, and will intrude more and more in our lives. Is this helpful, or scary? No wonder some people are very worried about artificial intelligence, though it’s hard to know what is real, what is fantasy and what is simply a very bad idea.

You might be interested in investigating your usual search engines. I don’t know. pick a subject, any subject you know something about and try it out on your search engines. How many websites that you reject do you have to go through to find one that you might trust? I visit a lot of websites to try to grasp what is happening, but I no longer believe in the New York Times or the Washington Post for anything at all. They have lost any sense of responsibility in the journalism profession. The media have become political activists with bylines, and they seem to be unfamiliar with history, with the Constitution, with science, and welcome the daily talking points to give them direction. It wasn’t always this way. Who do you find to be trustworthy, and what websites do you trust?

This has been kind of a disjointed piece, but there are a whole raft of things going on with some commonalities among them that I am trying to understand and decide how much I should worry. And a lot of Silicon Valley Oligarchs trying to change the world for the better is not really a comforting thought. I don’t question that they mean well.



The First Year of the Battle by The Elephant's Child

Much is being made of the fact this is the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States. And a very strange year it has been.

At the website American Greatness (recommended) Scott Gerber, a law professor at Ohio Northern University, has reviewed the past year. The liberal media began calling for the undermining of Trump’s presidency from almost the moment he was elected. President Trump frequently refers to the daily barrage of attacks as a “witch hunt”— and it has been. I knew it was bad, but Dr. Gerber puts it all together into a fascinating but damning essay. Do read the whole thing.

The liberal media began calling for the undermining of Trump’s presidency from almost the moment he was elected. For example, on November 17, 2016, Paul Waldman opined in the Washington Post that President-elect Trump “shouldn’t ever be treated like an ordinary president with whom Democrats just have some substantive disagreements,” while Dahlia Lithwick and David S. Cohen insisted in the New York Times on December 14, “As Monday’s Electoral College vote approaches, Democrats should be fighting tooth and nail.”

With respect to the Electoral College itself, Theodore G. Venetoulis proclaimed in the Baltimore Sun that it was “the electors’ duty” to reject Trump and let the U.S. House of Representatives pick the president.

For the Left, their entire reason for existence is being in control. From being in charge, all blessings flow:  big donations, graft, obsequious attendants, attention of the media, fame, fortune, publisher’s willing to publish, television appearances, large gifts, big salaries, recognition, even the possibility of making the history books, wealth and position. And the reason for all those ‘blessings’ is their stated desire to make everybody more equal.  And thus you are supposed to believe their cries to soak the rich, and succor the poor in making the bounty of America more available to all. Uh huh.

The Left has always treated Republican presidents badly. Eisenhower, in spite of winning a rather large war in Europe, was supposed to be not very bright man from Kansas who was more interested in golf than world events. And everyone knows about Nixon.  Ronald Reagan was a minor movie star, not very bright, and shockingly inept on the world stage, embarrassing in his meetings with Gorbachev. Both Bushes got the full treatment, in spite of the fact that the senior President Bush was a real war hero. George W. got us into an unnecessary war, ran it badly, “Bush lied,people died”, and although there weren’t any nukes, there were vast quantities of poison gasses. But everybody was tortured at Gitmo, and look how badly he performed with Hurricane Katrina. Iraq was a success until Obama snatched defeat from the path of victory. Democrats have always been rotten, but this time they have a young, ill-informed and passionately partisan media, easy to manipulate, as Ben Rhodes has told us.

President Donald Trump is doing a pretty remarkable job. The market is reaching new all-time highs, unemployment is low, consumer confidence is soaring, the cabinet is outstanding and getting important things done (which the Left really hates). His current Asian tour is impressive. His judicial nominees are outstanding, if the Senate will just get busy and confirm them all. I guess the problem is really us. We should be loudly celebrating the accomplishments. The Left runs on talking points and attempting to control the national conversation. Republicans are not inclined to brag and celebrate loudly, which I guess we should be doing. It is all about the national conversation and allowing Democrats to control that is a big mistake. This time they really have gone too far.

 



How Goes The Existential War for the Soul of America? by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson  starts off today’s post at American Greatness saying:

“We are in a veritable war of competing visions. The strife inside the two parties is irrelevant—when compared to the larger existential war for the soul of America.

Like it or not, Donald Trump in fits and starts has chosen not to accommodate the progressive vision. But in most unlikely fashion he leads the fight against it. …

And yet, warts and all, the Trump presidency on all fronts is all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009.

He adds that “we are  no longer in an era of liberal reform, it is now a postmodern world of intolerance and lockstep orthodoxy.” that certainly sounds about right.

Trump’s approval polls are supposedly dismal, yet consumer confidence is way up, as is employment, and  unemployment is down, so perhaps the internals of the polls are off.  The media seems to be solidly against Trump and thoroughly confused about what is a valid complaint and what is just silly. Today’s silliness was the occasion of President Trump feeding the Koi with Prime Minister Abe in Japan, when the media erupted because they thought Trump dumped in too much Koi food.  He was following the example of the Prime Minister.

The Bushes, father and son, have announced that Trump is a blowhard, and they don’t approve of him, but where were they when Obama was blithely throwing away the hard progress in Iraq, for nothing, and making the despicable Iran Deal, helping Iran to achieve nuclear weapons.

There are complaints that all that Trump is doing is by executive orders, and the next president can just dump those as Trump is doing now. We’ll see. If President Trump can really get the economy going again, he will be reelected and be the most important president since Reagan.

It seems not to be a financial war, but a class war. Trump sounds like somebody from Queens, and tweets. Apparently letting the public know what he thinks and feels is not “presidential.” Is it bad?  Mr. Trump seems to be an emotional man, and unaccustomed to hiding his feelings.

The Silicon Valley Oligarchs, at least as evidenced by Tom Steyer, who is willing to invest $10 million in the attempt to impeach  Donald Trump, with the help of  Maxine Waters and wassername from Florida who wears the sequined cowboy hats. Strange bedfellows indeed. Mr. Steyer is particularly agitated about the Paris Climate Accords, because he is very worried about the planet’s warming, in spite of a lack of any evidence, since the climate continues to cool. Impeachment requires “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the purported contacts with the Russians seem to be entirely with the Clintons, the Podestas, and the DNC.

I’m pretty pleased with what Trump is doing. I’m impressed with his cabinet, and his judges, and I like what they are doing. Scott Pruitt is stopping the insanity at the EPA, and insisting that regulations be about clean air and clean water. No more midnight raids and outrageous fines for nothing at all. Ajit Pai, Rick Perry, Nikki Haley, Ben Carson, Jack Kelly all doing important work, as are all the rest. It is definitely not all executive orders. What a relief to have Obama’s Rules of Engagement gone. He was so afraid that he might be blamed for something.

It clearly is a War of competing visions, and our millennial generation according to polls, apparently thinks socialism or communism would be just fine. I would suggest that their tender feelings and need for safe spaces would not fare well under those regimes, but they apparently aren’t learning anything at all in our universities for their $60,000 a year.

There is quite a bit that really needs to be done, but there’s an enormous amount of nonsense floating around. Democrats have major problems with human nature,and want to fix it. They are all hung up on ideas of racism, white supremacy, inequality, diversity, hate speech, global warming, the survival of the polar bears, and gun control. Issues that are focus group-tested to stir up Democrats, but will not respond to ‘fixing’.  Not very impressive as a goal.



Democrats Are All About Control of the Language by The Elephant's Child

(Click on View Image to Enlarge)

John Hinderaker of Powerline blog returned yesterday from an eleven day vacation in England. While there he had several conversations with Brits about politics,including one Member of Parliament. He said they were “few and unscientific, but were with well-informed people.”

Several people asked what I think about President Trump. All were surprised when I said I think he is doing a good job, and if he keeps it up will be our best president since Reagan. All said they have hardly heard anyone defend him. All the people I talked politics with were intrigued by my defense of Trump, since they had never heard it before. Trump is restoring the rule of law? Who knew?

The other thing I observed was that the level of interest in the Mueller investigation is high, but knowledge about it is nil. Everyone I talked politics with thought it was a big deal that Manafort and that other guy no one ever heard of have been arrested. One lefty I spoke with was literally rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of another endless Watergate drama. Needless to say, he was shocked at my suggestion that Trump should appoint a second independent counsel to investigate 1) the Uranium One scandal, 2) the role of the FBI in general, and Bill Mueller and James Comey in particular, in covering up the Uranium One scandal, and 3) collusion between the Clinton campaign and Russians to influence the 2016 election.

It isn’t only the British Left that takes the Mueller investigation seriously. Relatively conservative Brits seemed to have essentially the same view, mostly (I think) because they never hear the other side of the story. They suffer from the delusion that the New York Times and the Washington Post are reliable news sources.

Democrats have purposefully taken command of the language. The instant a new issue arises, they are out there naming and carefully defining the problem. You may have noticed in yesterday’s news that Tony Podesta, (John’s brother) resigned from the Podesta Group, which is a lobbying firm like Fusion GPS, who do opposition research. John Podesta. was not only Hillary’s campaign chairman, a former White House Chief of Staff, but also is the founder of the Center for American Progress.

Which I believe is  the source of the “talking points” that come out daily (?) to tell Democrats what language to use about daily events and problems. This is evident from the identical language used by all Democrats when they speak, including the media. They are also quite familiar with the “Big Lie” technique which says that if a falsehood is repeated long enough and loudly enough, everyone will start to believe it.

If you are a Republican or a Conservative, you are familiar with being called “Racist”, and are bewildered by charges of “White Supremacist, KKK, far Right, and alt-right.” You are familiar with the Republican history as the abolitionists who freed the slaves, fought a war to make it so, made them citizens, made sure they have the right to vote. Republicans, tired of illegal voting, insisted on Photo ID when you sign up to vote. Democrats immediately claimed this was a racist denial of the vote to black Americans, and if that didn’t work, that some black voters were too poor to get to city hall to get their photo ID.  They have also insisted that there are no illegal voters, and the numbers of illegal votes reported never make major headlines. Democrats believe most voters don’t follow the news carefully, and if they can control the headlines, they’ve won.

With the talking points to guide them, many Democrats fail to worry about little things like history, or science, or what I call “studying up” to really grasp what’s going on. That means they believe the globe is warming and the planet is at risk. They believe that the polar bears are endangered and dying off as the Arctic melts. They believe that, for the sake of the planet, we should put much of our corn crop (that could feed the hungry), into our gas tanks. They believe that nasty fossil fuels should be kept where they belong —in the ground, and we should rely on natural sources of energy like wind and solar to power our society. And Republicans are evil “deniers.” Control of the language matters.




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