American Elephants


Obama’s Analysis of His Own Presidency! by The Elephant's Child

A strange day indeed. President Barack Obama appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” He said he was most proud of “saving the American Economy” and he is “very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today than it was when I took office.”

Huh?

“I’m proud of saving the American economy. We still have a long way to go. Essentially what we did was stabilize it, lay a new foundation to move forward. As I said in the State of the Union address, that gives us, now the capacity to tackle what was an overriding theme of my campaign way back in 2008.  And that is to restore middle class economics and the capacity for people to get into the middle class and start seeing higher wages and a broader shared prosperity inside the United States.”

“Internationally, I’m proud of the fact that we’ve responsibly ended two wars. Now, people will say, well, you’re back in Iraq, but we’re not back in Iraq with an occupying army, we’re back with a coalition of 60 countries helping to stabilize the situation.”

“And so one of the things I’ve learned in this job over the last six years is that sometimes progress is incremental. But when I look at overall the steps that we’ve taken, I believe they are the right ones. I am very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today than it was when I took office.”

Republicans, online, have expended volumes of words trying to understand this president and why he does — what he does. Not very successfully. That is the things he does are not successful and our understanding is not successful. But David Horowitz, in his new book Take No Prisoners, offers some clues.

The Democratic Party has moved steadily leftward since the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern until it is now a party of the Left, led by progressives who are convinced that their policies are way stations on the path to a “better world.”

The vision of moral and social progress that Democrats share has profound consequences for the way they conduct their political battles. Unlike conservatives, progressives are not in politics merely to improve government practices and ameliorate social problems. They are missionaries who want to “change society” and “solve” its problems. They are out to create an entirely new order, which they call ‘social justice.” They think of themselves as social redeemers. Their belief in a redeemed future accounts for their political passion and for their furious personal assaults on those who stand in their way. …

The very grandeur of their ambition turns progressives into zealots. They dream of using the power of the state to make everyone equal and to take care of everyone’s needs. They are going to legislate—and dictate—social equality and social justice. How intoxicating is that idea? It explains why progressives approach politics differently from conservatives. It doesn’t matter to progressives that the massive entitlement programs they created—Social Security and Medicare—are already bankrupt. They can take care of that by making wealthy people pay their “fair share.” Progressives believe that if they can appropriate enough money and accumulate enough power, they can make their glorious future work. Everything Democrats do and every campaign they conduct is about mobilizing their political resources to bring about this result. It is about social transformation—one program and one candidate at a time. No Republican in his right mind thinks like this.

I recommend the book highly. I wish I could quote more. Eyeopening! I keep reading the first chapters over as the examples from my own experience prove every word.



Here We Go Again! Obama Attempts A Vast Landgrab: 12 Million Acres Of Alaska. by The Elephant's Child

Rivers_ANWR.jpg
The Obama administration will propose setting aside more than twelve million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness, including 1.5 million miles of coastal plain, and a chunk of the Arctic Ocean, the White House announced today. Dumb idea. We have been all through this before.

The wildlife of ANWR are currently protected, and flourishing. The polar bears are just fine. The administration will undoubtedly have endless videos featuring the beauty of the land and the extensive wildlife with sob-stories about the need to protect them from — the ravages of anyone that might want to drill for oil in the coastal plain. That is what this is all about — another attempt to prevent anyone from successfully drilling for petroleum.

The goal of the greenest of the greens has always been to make most of America into ‘wilderness,’ and force the population into dense cities, with narrow links between cities. Presumably high speed rail.

The federal government does few things well, and most things very badly. There are some things that only a federal government can do, like a military, and they do that poorly too. The federal government is not a  good steward of the public lands.

When drilling was allowed on the North Slope, the claims of the damage that would be done to the land and to the wildlife, to ‘critical habitat,’ to the migrating birds went on and on. Turned out the footprint of the drilling operation was quite small, and the wildlife loved the pipeline which provided warmth, shelter, and the occasional scratching post.

Naturally, President Obama is attempting to do this  by executive order. He says his “Department of the Interior has put forward a comprehensive plan to make sure we’re protecting the refuge, and that we’re designating new areas, including coastal plains, for preservation,” he said from his seat aboard Air Force One.

He also wants to block off a good chunk of the Arctic Ocean from drilling. Which clears up any mystery about why he is announcing this right now. He’s attempting to boost the price of oil as a present for the Saudis, hoping  to rescue his relationship with the desert kingdom.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge “faces growing challenges that require a thoughtful and comprehensive management strategy” in a statement today. “The incorporation of large portions of the refuge into the National Wilderness Preservation System will ensure we protect this outstanding landscape and its inhabitants for our children and generations that follow.” Now there is a carefully worded statement that says nothing— nothing at all. Changing a designation to “wilderness” does not “ensure” anything, not the survival of wildlife nor the preservation of anything at all.

Preventing Americans from using out own natural resources will not enable us to rely instead on wind and/or solar — which are not free, and cannot even work at all without full time backup from conventional power sources — no matter how much taxpayer money is handed off to Obama’s cronies. A modern industrial society depends on plentiful  low cost energy, something Obama doesn’t seem to understand at all.



A Visit to Saudi Arabia by The Elephant's Child

96379-004-BADCACC3President Obama will pass up on the planned side trip to take Michelle to see the Taj Mahal during his three-day visit to India, in order to visit Saudi Arabia, where he will ‘pay respects’ to the family of the late King Abdullah, and meet with the new King Salman.

The Taj Mahal has been virtually ‘locked down’ this week as U.S. security teams prepared the fabled mausoleum for the president’s visit, now cancelled. Vice President Biden had been scheduled to make the trip to Saudi Arabia, but it  was cancelled when it was realized that Biden and Obama would cross paths as the president left the region and the vice president arrived.

It has been widely reported in the press that King Abdullah detested President Obama, and his successors follow his priorities. King Salman is not in good health, and Crown Prince Migrin may stand in when needed, and the younger generation Mohammed has been named Deputy Crown Prince so the line of succession is clear. King Abdullah had an excellent relationship with George W. Bush, and he visited the Bushes at  the Crawford Ranch.

Mr. Obama is reported to be taking a “gift” to the Saudis with a plan to close off 12 million acres of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to any potential drilling by declaring it to be “Wilderness.” That is based on the assumption, popular in the press, that the reason the Saudis have continued to pump oil in the wake of the declining price of oil, is their attempt to force frackers out of the market.

Looking clearly at the state of the Middle East, it seems far more likely that they are hoping to cause problems for the Iranian economy which needs a higher price for oil to break even. It does not help that Obama is releasing Iran’s assets held in this country to Iran in the supposition that  will be more persuasive in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons than busting their economy. Strategy is not exactly one of the strong points of the Obama administration. And there doesn’t seem to be anybody there with a clear understanding of the Middle East.



King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Has Died at Age 90 by The Elephant's Child

saudiking

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia has died at the age of 90, according to a statement from the Royal Court.

Abdullah’s half-brother, Crown Prince Salman, who is 79 years old, was declared king and Prince Mugrin, 69, became crown prince. He became  governor of Riyadh Province in 1962 and ruled the province until 2011 when he became defense minister. He has played an increasingly prominent role in Saudi politics. He is known to favor close political and economic ties with the West.

Most of us know little about the very conservative desert kingdom. The modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded only in 1932. Abdullah had to steer the alliance with America through the 9/11 terror attacks. The kingdom was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers and many pointed out that the ideology of al-Qaeda stemmed from Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

When al-Qaeda militants began a wave of violence in the kingdom in 2003 aimed at toppling the monarchy, Abdullah cracked down hard. Security forces battled militants for 3 years, finally forcing them to retreat to Yemen. Abdullah had worked steadily to slowly modernize the kingdom. He was a strong supporter of education, building universities at home and increasing scholarships for students of both sexes.

He also moved to open greater opportunities for women to participate. He gave women seats on the Shura Council, an  unelected body that advises the king and government. Small steps, but big within the kingdom, where the Wahhabi clerics who hold near total sway over society and give the Saud family’s rule religious legitimacy. State-run TV has begun playing music, forbidden for decades. Small careful steps.

Abdullah had 30 children from around 12 wives.



The Political Maneuvering About Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

The Senate voted on Wednesday that “climate change is real and is not a hoax” — an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline vote sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) which passed, to Democrats’ astonishment, with only Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker  voting ‘no.’

In a surprise, the Senate’s leading skeptic of climate science, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), voted in favor of the amendment — but made clear he doesn’t believe humans are the primary driver of climate change.

The Hill apparently regarded this as astonishing. Democrats think they have accomplished something, for they regard Republicans as “climate deniers,” which is another of their false tag operations. The climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and the Medieval Warm Period, and the Roman Warm period when the climate was milder. Nobody denies that there is climate change.

The news has been full of the claim that 2014 was the “hottest year” on record, based on unreliable surface thermometer records and even that refers only to four-hundredths of a degree — which is hardly significant. The only significant measurements of global temperature are the satellite temperatures which indicate that temperature changes since 2001 are “statistically insignificant.” We have had satellite measurements for 36 years.

The only place where climate alarmism is rampant is in climate computer programs where they try to predict the future based on a representation of earthly climate they have programmed in. Unfortunately, the predictive ability of the programs cannot even produce the temperatures of today or any time in the past 36 years when we know what the global climate was. GIGO.

The idea that the Keystone XL pipeline has any effect on climate is preposterous. Climate scientist Roy Spencer PhD who runs the satellites out of Huntsville AL commented on the ‘hottest year on record.’ His website has some excellent short explanations of climate change and what we know and what we don’t.



The State of the Union is Not Strong, Mr. President. You Were Misinformed. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama gave a defiant State of the Union speech tonight, full of whoppers. He’s still congratulating himself for ending the War in Afghanistan, as fighters he released from Guantanamo are heading up ISIS in that country.

Several writers have referred to his ‘trolling’ Republicans. Byron York put it clearly:

With no real political clout on Capitol Hill and a job approval rating that has stayed mostly below 50 percent for a long time, Obama is trying to leverage the power he has left to force his agenda on the Republican majority. His big talk, executive actions, and outlandish proposals are the best ways he has to control the debate in Washington.

I think we misunderstand. Obama believes that he has successfully accomplished much of the fundamental transformation of America that he embarked upon, and he considers the two elections he won as validation of that ideology. Remember the extent to which the Democrats extolled Obama as young, fresh, new and interesting.?

I think people voted for the first Black President, and did see him as new and fresh. But I don’t think they were voting for “fundamentally transforming” the United States of America, or if they did, they didn’t mean by the phrase what Obama had in mind. Obama believes he has been quite successful, and Danielle Pletka got it right:

For Barack Obama, many of these are success stories; or to put it another way, isn’t Assad isolated? Don’t we almost have a deal with Iran? Look at Putin struggling, Castro releasing political prisoners. Look at the wars that have ended, China’s cooperation on the world stage, and recognize that while hundreds of thousands have died throughout the Middle East at the hands of terrorists, there has been no attack on American soil.

He has not changed his mind. He is defiant, and expects to combat Republicans all the way. He will attempt to use the tax-increases he wants as bargaining chips, and veto everything else. In the last few weeks, he has raised his approval rating back up to 50% with the help of his lapdog media, who have happily reported an economy in full recovery, (celebrating the phony 5% growth rate); unemployment rate down to 5.6% ( but of an increasingly smaller work force).

The scary numbers came out from Gallup last week. For the first time in 35 years, American business startups have fallen below the business failure rate. That has to be changed, or the American economy is not coming back. The U.S. now ranks 12th among developed nations in terms of business startup activity. And we pretty much know why. Overregulation, red tape, higher taxes, ObamaCare regulation and penalties, too much government, White House policies, bad business climate, muddled government rules. If new businesses are not starting up — where are the jobs supposed to come from?

The ideological Left believes firmly in more and bigger government, more controls, more regulations, and increased taxes to pay for it all. That’s what President Obama was proposing tonight. Leftists sneer at “trickle-down economics”— their name for lower taxes. But it’s far better for someone to use their money to start a business than to use their money to plan for tax avoidance. Lower taxes create more income for the government. Freed of tax avoidance schemes, free people invent, experiment and start new enterprises. They don’t need more government to tell them how to do business. They need government to get out of the way.

A  record 92.9 million Americans are no longer part of our workforce.

Seven years ago, before the recession, the economy was projected to have five million more jobs at the end of 2014 than we do. GDP was projected to be 11 percent higher in 2014 than it is. Annual output was projected to be $2 trillion higher, or more than $6,000 per person. And we won’t see much wage growth until there is a higher demand for workers.

The $8 trillion housing bubble did a lot of damage to the economy, and Obama wants to do the same thing all over again by reducing the down payment for a mortgage from 20% of the cost, down to 3% because he wants to see more people owning their own homes, which was what caused the housing bubble in the first place. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’re apt to repeat them.



Inflation: Hiding and Disguising It So You Won’t Notice by The Elephant's Child

187546988_0

Inflation is reckoned to be around 1.3% or nothing significant. Women who do the bulk of grocery shopping would probably disagree. But inflation is disguised in the grocery store in many different ways, some noticeable, and some that are downright sneaky. Packaging that seems to be the same size, same price, if you look closely will contain only 12 oz. instead of the previous 16 oz.  See sugar, granulated, and flour, all-purpose. Some cereal boxes were as tall as usual and as wide across, but thinner.

Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate was up-front and brazen about the whole thing. Bars were uniformly 8 oz. Suddenly, the new box was headlined “NEW! 4 oz Easy Break Bar. Same great chocolate”with a little illustration showing how easy it was to break the bar apart. Only problem was that you were getting half as much for the same price.They have now removed the “New” line, whether because of objections or only because they thought you’d had enough time to get used to it, I don’t know. I have more respect for companies that don’t try to fool you.

Facial tissues are 1 ply thinner, as are most paper napkins. But did you notice this one? Toilet tissue, probably depending on the brand, has gotten about an inch narrower. You only notice it by paying attention to how the roll fits into the fixture. Sneaky!

Inflation is measured on a specific basket of commodities. I don’t know what items count. Certainly the drop in the price of gas is deflationary. I don’t know when the drop in transportation costs will be reflected in the price of groceries. But the droop will be reflected throughout the economy.

An interesting side note: Larry Kudlow reported this weekend that the drop in the price of gasoline, graphed, was matched exactly by the graphed rise in business at fast food restaurants.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,963 other followers

%d bloggers like this: