American Elephants


A Coffee Shop in Addis Ababa Was the Site Of Comments On Mr. Obama’s Speeches by The Elephant's Child

_84535912_kaldi'scoffeeI had to laugh at Abe Greenwald’s line: “The United States has been too eager to throw its weight around and impose it’s norms on other countries without giving sufficient thought to the resentment it might sow.” Which he attributes to Barack Obama’s worldview.

Obama went to Africa to make a speech.  He spoke in the Mandela Hall in the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and he spoke at the Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall on the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus. He told Africans to stamp out corruption, get more young people in school. Africa’s population will double, he said, but it is urgent to get more young people trained. Africa’s growth will depend on unleashing economic growth, and ending the cancer of corruption. He tried to push  education for girls, gay rights in Africa, fighting corruption and “clean energy” and — solar panels, not ‘dirty’ fossil fuels.

The young Africans, according to the BBC, said their feeling about America is ‘clean your own house first.’ They are shocked and horrified at what is going on in the black community in America — police brutality, all these killings, everything being swept under the rug, investigations don’t happen. They were horrified by the lack of freedom of speech and expression in the U.S. Many said they found Obama’s views about gay rights unpalatable. “When Obama declares gay rights is about human rights, most of us feel he’s not Christian.”

Mr. Obama may be laboring mightily to keep anyone from thinking that America is an “exceptional” country. He wants it to be just one of the “community of nations,” and not any more important than any other. Strange ambition. But the nations of the world haven’t lost interest, and everything American makes it onto the front pages of the world’s newspapers, and with the increasing spread of technology, they have only to log on. After all, we are the source of movies, celebrity gossip and strange behavior, fashion, what’s new, and just what’s happening in America.  So they know quite a bit about what’s going on here. In spite of the compliments, Obama seemed to be there to throw his weight around as the American president, and impose some American norms without giving sufficient thought to the resentment it might sow.

Here are “Remarks by President Obama to the People of Africa

Here are “Remarks by President Obama at Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall

Here are remarks from young Africans of East Africa in Addis Ababa



A Little Reminder of the Astonishing Changes In the World by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama spoke on Sunday in Kenya about Africa’s bleak history, referencing the racism his grandfather faced as a cook for the British during the colonial era, and the ethnic violence that erupted after a disputed election in 2007. He urged Africans to build stronger and more tolerant democracies. Graft, he said, is “not something that is just fixed by laws, or that any one person can fix. It requires a commitment by the entire nation—leaders and citizens—to change habits and change culture.

What does this have to do with rather primitive cell phones? It’s that modern cell phones are now common in Africa. You may see a Masai tribesman in the remotest part of Africa, herding goats in his red blanket, talking on a cell phone. Poverty is being eliminated, life expectancy is longer, and trade and investment are changing Africa. Leon Louw urges more “exploitation.” More people buying things from Africa, investing in Africa and employing people in Africa. Yet the assumption is that poverty is increasing, while the opposite is the case, and should be celebrated.

If you have not watched the 9 minute video below, you can see the important part about eliminating poverty and the proliferation of cell phones at about 9: 30, and the potential difference that BitCoin may make. Mr. Obama’s advisors did not prepare him for recognizing the advances that Africa has made.

Last time he made a speech in Africa, Obama told the people that they couldn’t all have cars and air-conditioners or the oceans would boil over.

Time and technology move on, and change the world.



The Amazing Success of Africa. Botswana Is the Fastest Growing Country in the World. by The Elephant's Child

Leon Louw is an author, policy analyst, and executive director of the South Africa-based think tank: The Free Market Foundation. “Thank goodness people are ‘exploiting ” Africa by buying things from it, by investing in it, by employing people in it,” he said. “The worst thing that would happen is if people decide to stop exploiting Africa.”

The statement might sound provocative, but Louw is responding to a a pair of critiques he hears often: That economic development is akin to exploitation and that the gap between rich and poor is growing dangerously large. But Louw says that the focus on economic inequality is a distraction from a more important metric.

“The world is experiencing the most amazing accomplishment of humanity: The virtual elimination of poverty,” says Louw. “It’s strange that as that happens, we are talking about it as if there is more of it.”

Another illustration of “One of the Most Remarkable Achievements in Human History.”Some good news to be celebrated. The Decliners are sure that there is more poverty, more unfairness, more decline. About 9 minutes long. It is getting really hard to get a straight, true look at the state of the world. Those things which are hard and bad are ignored, misunderstood, and the dangers made light of. And the good things? We don’t even know they are happening. It would be helpful if there was way less talk about the supposed gap between the rich and the poor, and a lot more appreciation for free market enterprise that moves people out of poverty.



One of the Most Remarkable Achievements in Human History by The Elephant's Child

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Here is a chart of one of the most remarkable achievements in  human history: the 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. In 1970,  26.5% of the world’s population were living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) to only 5.4% in 2006 — led by the 97% reduction in the poverty rate in East Asia (excluding Japan and Hong Kong) from 58.8% to  1.7% over that time period.  (Mark Perry: AEI)

It’s the greatest achievement in human history, and you never hear about it.

80 percent of the world’s worst poverty has been eradicated in less than 40 years. That has never, ever happened before.

So what did that? What accounts for that? United Nations? US foreign aid? The International Monetary Fund? Central planning? No.

It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

I will state, assert and defend the statement that if you love the poor, if you are a good Samaritan, you must stand for the free enterprise system, and you must defend it, not just for ourselves but for people around the world. It is the best anti-poverty measure ever invented.
(Arthur Brooks, President, AEI)

 



Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airship — the Next Revolution. by The Elephant's Child

You learn something new every day. I had no idea they were working on this. I’ve long been familiar with dirigibles.  Used to drive by the hangar near the freeway just north of San Jose, fairly frequently. The working model pictured is 1/3 scale, so Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airships — the real ones — would be huge.  Able to go to areas with little transportation and no highways or runways.  The possibilities seem endless. Fascinating.



It’s a Farce, But They Want to Express Their Concern About Economic Inequality by The Elephant's Child

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The World Hypocrisy Forum of the ultra rich will enter its final day in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday. Volunteers created an array of 193  three foot high snowmen complete with carrot noses and coal eyes, each draped in a scarf representing one of the 193 countries recognized by the United Nations.

When the world’s wealthiest citizens, heads of state, businessmen, and movie stars fly into a Swiss ski resort on their 1,700 private jets to see and be seen for the purpose of creating a better world by expressing concern about the problems of climate change, poverty and economic inequality while taking helicopter rides, a few ski runs and relaxing in the spas, and noshing on $43 hot dogs at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère — you simply have to laugh. Can they possibly not recognize — but of course they can’t.

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan CEO. said “Family first, country second , and JP Morgan—it ‘s the best I can do for the world. You don’t want a weak JP Morgan-or else”according to Twitter.

Billionaire Jeff Green who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, said the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

The pretentious, pompous, World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. Everybody took selfies with the cute snowmen.



Greenpeace, Once Again, Embarrasses Itself and the World by The Elephant's Child

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Peru Climate Change Conference

Greenpeace has always attempted big stunts to get the attention of the world press. The media is onto them and for the most part ignores them. You can see in the picture above that they are attempting to avoid major damage, but the Nazca Lines are incredibly fragile. The Nazca desert is unusually dry, and the plain is sheltered from the wind. Anything that disturbs the desert—like a footprint, for example —lasts for centuries.

The environmental activists from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Germany and Italy who conducted the stunt broke environmental regulations and permanently damaged a UNESCO site. The purpose of the Greenpeace action is supposedly the fight against climate change, but more obviously simply to promote Greenpeace than to do anything whatsoever for the environment. They also electronically projected a message on cliff walls at Machu Picchu and unfurled some banners on the cliffs in advance of the UN Climate Summit (COP20) in Peru. For Peruvians, these are sacred sites, and not for radical greens to use for tasteless stunts.

Remarkably stupid, but Greenpeace will do anything to get attention. They train the activists, regular people, they say, who made a personal choice to help save their world. Uh huh.

GreenPeace-unfurls-pro-solar-messageOne of their major efforts is to insist that Africans die from Malaria rather than safely spray their huts with small amounts of DDT. In Asia, the poor are extremely susceptible to Vitamin A deficiency in their diets, because their diet is reliant on rice in which the vitamin is entirely lacking. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects about 250 million preschool children. Providing those children with vitamin A could prevent about a third of under age 5 deaths or roughly 2.7 million children could be saved from unnecessary deaths, irreversible blindness, impaired skeletal growth. Greenpeace’s actions have effectively prevented the use of Golden Rice, a variety of rice that has been genetically modified to include vitamin A.

108173_175761Greenpeace has threatened General Mills which has in cowardly or ill-informed fashion labeled Cheerios as “non genetically modified” thus bowing to the “natural” food devotees and informing them that “Non GMO” foods are a correct position. I understand that the battle for shelf-space and customers is constant in the grocery business, but the ignorance of food faddists should not be catered to. In any grocery store your will find appeals to those who favor “natural” food (ever ask yourself which foods are “unnatural?”). “Organic” is merely a marketing ploy by purveyors of food grown with only “natural ” manure, and no use of nasty “chemical” fertilizers. But if you want to spend 30% more for your food, for no nutritional benefit whatsoever, that’s  your problem.  But the promotion of GMO Free foods is killing kids and contributing to blindness. If American women refuse to buy genetically modified food, there must be something wrong with it, and governments are suspicious and afraid.

Dr. Henry Miller, the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, and fellow at the Hoover Institution has written:

A 2001 Food and Drug Administration guidance document warns against using terms like “not genetically modified” or “GMO free,” because ” ‘genetic modification’ means the alteration of the genotype of a plant using any technique, new or traditional,” and “consumers do not have a good understanding that essentially all food crops have been genetically modified.” Thus, according to the FDA, changing the Cheerios label to say, “Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients,” with no further context, would be inaccurate, or at least misleading. That would make the product “misbranded,” and selling it would violate federal law.

Although so-called GMOs and ingredients derived from them don’t constitute a “category” of food products, antitechnology activists have seized on the term “genetically modified” because they know it conjures up lurid if inaccurate images of “Frankenfood” and “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

Don’t buy any foods labeled “non GMO.”  And here’s why you should never pay any attention  to Greenpeace.




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