American Elephants

Democrats Called for a Big Protest Against the Tax Bill, But No One Came! by The Elephant's Child

What if they planned a big protest against the tax bill, and no one came? Democrats have been all but shrieking “tax cuts for the rich” for weeks and weeks, and they planned a protest in a Capitol Hill conference room, expecting lots of activists to show up. Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to address the demonstration, but only a couple of dozen folks showed up, and to spare Minority Leader Pelosi the pain of speaking to an almost empty room they called the whole thing off.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s big black headline:”How the GOP produced the worst bill sine the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850,” and the New Yorker shrieked “THE FINAL VERSION OF THE G.O.P. TAX BILL IS A CORRUPT, CRUEL, BUDGET-BUSTING HAIRBALL.” The Washington Post was dismayed that it’s barrage of negative Tax Bill articles isn’t working. (Democrats have problems with percentages) If you give somebody who makes $500,000 a year a 10% tax cut, and somebody who makes $50,000 a year the same 10% tax cut, the rich guy’s cut will be bigger and he will still have more money left than the ordinary joe. But the rich guy is still paying way more taxes.

The Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column (from the lefty side of the paper, not the Opinion pages – which lean right) said:

There were several surprises for investors when Republicans unveiled their final tax bill Friday, but the most significant is that they add up to a bigger boost to economic growth next year. …

The tax plan was always expected to juice the economy, but the Senate version, which passed after the House approved its bill, had relatively modest short-term stimulus. While the stock market kept rising in anticipation of a cut, the bond market hardly budged. The bill unveiled Friday front-loaded more than $200 billion in stimulus for next year. Economists had been penciling in a boost of about a third of a percentage point next year. Now that is looking way low.

There are several big changes in the final bill. The cut in the corporate tax rate to 21% happens right away; the Senate bill had put it off until 2019. It lowers the top rate on individuals to 37%—lower than either the House and Senate plans. It also pushes individual rates down for most other people and increases the child tax credit, which are important because middle-class households are more likely to spend extra income than the rich.

And here’s the Left-leaning tax policy center  (scroll down) which finds that 80.4% of Americans would see a tax cut in 2018. The average decrease would be $2,140. Only 4.8% would see a tax increase. Trump’s record of accomplishment is garnering praise from even some reluctant never trumpers. The tax cut is big. $1,5 trillion over 10 years, a lower corporate rate, from 35% to 21%, and they will only be taxed on their earnings in the U.S.. (sorry, Dems, corporations don’t really pay taxes, they just pass it on to you). Pulling out of the Paris accords was an excellent move, approving the Keystone pipeline, cutting back dramatically on needless regulation that gets in the way of business.

Democrats firmly believe in the efficacy of government, and that the wise people in government can make everything better by telling everyone what to do. Uh huh.



Explaining the Trump Derangement Syndrome: by The Elephant's Child

All is explained. Or at least a goodly part of all. Economist Mark Perry refers us to an article by Jeffrey A. Tucker last May in FEE. All good things eventually become clear, but the path may be a little tangled. Dr. Perry offers a condensed version:

For the center-left crowd, all their hopes and dreams are bound up with particular political processes, outcomes, and institutions. The state is their favorite tool for all the good they aspire to do in this world. It must be protected, guarded, defended, and celebrated. The illusion that the government is not a taker but a giver and the source of all good things must be maintained. The gloss of the democratic process must be constantly refurbished so that the essential sanctity of the public sector can be constantly cited as the highest calling.

The center-left has at least one hundred years of work and resources invested in the state’s health, well-being, reputation, and exalted moral status. Nothing must be allowed to threaten it or take it down a peg or two. Any failures must be deemed as temporary setbacks. The slightest sign of some success must be trumpeted constantly. The population must be subjected to unrelenting homilies on the essential holiness of the public sector.

They believe so strongly that they can make the world a better place through the managerial state that it has become their religion. It’s their very core! The president is supposed to at least pretend to be the high priest of the statist religion. That’s his job, according to this outlook.

Everything seemed to being going so well under the Obama administration, which was so earnest, so decorous, so civil. He was funny, smart, respectful of process, and sincere in his pronouncements. He ran on hope and change but governed as the person who kept hope for a new freedom and any radical change at bay.

Trump has profoundly disturbed the balance(click here for the rest)

We keep wondering just what spurs the Trump Derangement Syndrome. This is not a bad diagnosis.

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.

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.


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