American Elephants


Here’s The Difference Between Republicans And Democrats Spelled Out Clearly! by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a post from the archives, from about the same time last year. I repost it because nothing essentially has changed.Treasury-Secretary-Jack-Lew-seeks-rational-budget-approach

Here’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans —clear and simple.

President Obama has nattered on about “Economic Patriotism” and what they call “Corporate Tax Inversion.” Some corporations are finding it to their advantage to locate their headquarters in a country with significantly lower taxes. Medtronic is acquiring the Irish company Coviden and moving its corporate headquarters to Ireland.

The problem is American corporate taxes — which are the highest, at 35 percent, among the advanced economies in the world. Not only that, but the U.S. also taxes the income that American corporations earn overseas — something no other country does.

Democrats are up in arms. How dare they pick up and move? It’s not even patriotic to not pay taxes in your own country. Democrats intend to make “Economic Patriotism” a major issue in the fall campaign. (Good Democrats all hate big business).

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who should know better, has advocated “anti-inversion legislation.” Democrats are afraid that if a few companies do this it will open the floodgates and all sorts of American companies will locate abroad. Corporations who operate in the United States would still pay taxes on all the income earned in the U.S. but they won’t be paying double taxes to a foreign country and to the U.S. That gets very expensive, very fast.

There is, of course a very simple solution. You cut the corporate tax rate back to a rate more in line with other nations — or, gasp, even below. Yes, this is a Republican thing. Republicans like to cut taxes. The result would be a burst of activity from business, hiring, expanding, growing. The economy might even actually recover. It is how we have recovered so quickly from past recessions when Republicans are in charge.

Burger King has purchased Canada’s Tim Horton chain of coffee and donut shops, and plans to move their headquarters to Canada, where tax costs will be 46.4% lower. Canada has lowered their corporate tax rate from 43 percent in 2000 to 26 percent today. How much tax revenue did Canada lose by the dramatic reduction in their corporate tax rate? None. The lower tax rate raises more money.

For Democrats, this simply does not compute.

Secretary Lew said the corporate tax moves would mean that “all other taxpayers —including small businesses and hardworking Americans—will have to shoulder more of the responsibility of maintaining core public functions that everyone, particularly U.S. businesses, depends on.” Sigh. This man is the Secretary of the Treasury!

Lew’s remarks, delivered at an event hosted by the Tax Policy Center in Washington, came the same day Bloomberg News reported that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) will soon introduce a bill that would slash the amount of interest an inverted firm can deduct from its U.S. income from 50 percent to 25 percent.
That will fix everything. Cut their deductions. Maybe they will lay off a few more people, and Obama’s recession will go on and on and on.
When we are considering all the potential candidates for the presidency, don’t doze off when one of them talks about taxes. It’s one of the big reasons why the economy is still in the tank, and why none of Obama’s efforts will provide the new jobs that are needed.


Obama Went to Alaska to See a Glacier, Make a Speech, And Talk a Lot of Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

www.usnews.comPresident Obama likes to make a speech or two in appropriate places to give him a little more authenticity for whatever program he is pitching. In this case, there was a Conference on Global Leadership on the Arctic, in Anchorage. As a sign of  the importance the United States placed on the Alaska forum, the president attended.  He used the conference as a platform to urge swifter action to combat climate change.

Our understanding of climate change advances each day.  Human activity is disrupting the climate, in many ways faster than we previously thought.  The science is stark.  It is sharpening.  It proves that this once-distant threat is now very much in the present.

In fact, the Arctic is the leading edge of climate change — our leading indicator of what the entire planet faces.  Arctic temperatures are rising about twice as fast as the global average.  Over the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed about twice as fast as the rest of the United States.  Last year was Alaska’s warmest year on record — just as it was for the rest of the world.  And the impacts here are very real.

Thawing permafrost destabilizes the earth on which 100,000 Alaskans live, threatening homes, damaging transportation and energy infrastructure, which could cost billions of dollars to fix.

The president is an ideologue, and he knows many things that just aren’t so. The globe is actually cooling. Arctic ice is growing and has been in greater extent this year than last, as has Antarctic ice. There has been no warming at all for the last 18 years. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” He referred to our forest fires here in Eastern Washington, and said “even the rainforest is on fire.” Oh?

They had a big signing ceremony affirming “our commitment to take urgent action to slow the pace of warming in the Arctic.” But Russia, China and India refused to sign. A bit embarrassing.

Obama added:

“If we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century ”

Climate politics, a religion, is one thing, climate science is something quite different. It’s actually expected to get somewhat colder.

Obama also announced that he is changing the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali, the Inuit name for the mountain. He really has no authority to do so. The name of the mountain was created by an act of Congress, and can be re-named the same way. The president is feeling cocky, and intent on overruling Congress at every opportunity.

 



Noah’s Ark Takes to the Water, Once Again, 3,765 Years Later. by The Elephant's Child
September 2, 2015, 6:58 am
Filed under: History, Iran, Islam, Middle East | Tags: , ,

Here is a fascinating story of how an Englishman, going through some of his father’s possessions after his death. found a clay fragment that his father had bought from a bazaar with cuneiform writing on it. which he took to the British Museum to see if he could find out just what it was.  It was a clay tablet from 1,750 B.C. and Dr. Irving Finkel, Deputy Keeper of Middle East in the British Museum found it to contain a new account of the ancient Babylonian Flood story, containing actual directions for making a round ark.

There are many versions of the deluge myth in the ancient Near East. One features Zusudra, King of Sumer, as the Noah figure and is found on a single tablet from the 17th century B.C. excavated in Nippur, Iraq. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of Utnapishtim who was tasked by the god Enki-Ea to build a boat that would save his family, craftsmen, plants and animals from the flood the other gods were sending to destroy humanity. The earliest surviving Gilgamesh tablets date to the 18th  century B.C.

Dr. Finkel is one of the few people in the world who can sight  read cuneiform writing. “Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atra-Hasis…” That passage is famous among Assyriologists as the opening lines of the Atra-Hasis Flood Story. Finkel was thrilled at such a rare find and asked to keep the tablet so he could translate the whole thing which is covered in cuneiform front and back, but Mr. Simmonds was unwilling to part with it. It wasn’t until 2009 when Dr. Finkel spotted Douglas Simmonds at the Babylon, Myth and Reality exhibition that the latter finally agreed to bring the tablet in for translation.

The story of what that tablet led to is an absolutely fascinating archaeological detective story told in the video. Simply stated, this show has everything: Mesopotamian history, issues in ancient urban water management, the Ziggurat of Ur, dangers military and ecological, southern Iraq’s enchanting marshlands, cuneiform tablets and the laser-scanning thereof, ship design, archaeological geology, traditional crafts, how reeds can be used to make an AMAZING house, bitumen drama, flood legends and their transmission from Babylon to Judea, the reality of regular flooding in the Fertile Crescent, several exceptional beards and at the end, a big ol’ round boat.

Watch it when you have the time, and when you can enlarge it to full screen.



Are We Thinking Clearly About the Iran Deal? Or Fooling Ourselves? by The Elephant's Child

On August 4 — David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the “Breakout Timelines Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? (JCPOA) suggested that the likely breakout for a nuclear weapon for Iran is seven months.

Senator Menendez responded: ” [Six-to-seven months] would be concerning to me, because I already am a little concerned that what we bought here was a very expensive alarm system … [S]ix or seven months is not going to be helpful if they decide to break out, because by the time we re-impose sanctions … it [wouldn’t] be meaningful. The next president of the United States … will only have one choice: to accept Iran as a nuclear weapons state or to have a military strike.

The Institute analyzed the imprudent assumption on which the Obama administration bases its one-year contention:

The bare-boned limits on Iran’s centrifuge program provide for at least a 12-month breakout period. However, based on ISIS analyses the agreed limits do not guarantee a 12-month breakout timeline during the first ten years of the agreement, if Iran can relatively quickly re-deploy its already manufactured IR-2m centrifuges. The administration has taken the position that Iran will not deploy these IR-2m centrifuges, because they have assessed that they will not work well enough. However, this assessment depends on an assumption about Iran’s manufactured IR-2m centrifuges that may not hold. Moreover, available data indicate that the breakage rate of the IR-2m centrifuges are no worse than those for the IR-1 centrifuges. Uncertainties about the quality of the existing IR-2m centrifuges make a definitive resolution of this issue difficult. Nonetheless, straightforward prudence would argue to include these centrifuges in a breakout, since their redeployment would have a major impact compared to IR-1 centrifuges and the United States lacks high assurance that the IR-2m centrifuges will not work adequately if deployed. In this case, the 12-month breakout criterion does not hold during the first ten years of the agreement. At a minimum, it is arguable whether the breakout criterion holds. [Emphasis added].

Another witness was Gary Samore, executive director for research in Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  He said:

Senator, I don’t think re-imposition of sanctions is an effective response to breakout. I think the only effective response to breakout is military force. I mean, if the Iranians have decided to run the risk of openly dashing for a nuclear weapon, I don’t think sanctions are going to deter them or stop them.

Senator Menendez responded: So it seems to me that if Iran makes a political decision to move forward because it believes it’s the preservation of the regime, the revolution, or its place in the region, then ultimately … we are just kicking the ball down the road, but we will have a stronger, resurgent Iran with more money and greater defense capabilities than it has today.

There seems to be a basic assumption here that Iran wants to become an nuclear power to be — what?  merely a powerful nation among the powerful nations of the world. Not that Iran’s urgent desire is to destroy the United States of America, which the Ayatollah loathes, and the nation of Israel, — which he also loathes. In spite of all the evidence do we fail to understand Iran’s real aims? And prepare for that? They talk about increases in terrorism. They talk about Iraq and ISIS, and the other Gulf States. They even mention the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear state, as if that just places Iran in the world’s grouping of states that have nuclear weapons to insure that nobody attacks them.

One would think that observing the actions of ISIS, the beheadings, the immolations, the crucifixions, the destruction of the monuments of history and the behavior of al-Qaeda, there would be some recognition of the fact that these people don’t really observe the same standards nor conventions. We have been told that we worship life, while they worship death — but that makes no sense to the Western mind, so we ignore it.



The Great Unlearning: How Our Society Became So Stupid. by The Elephant's Child

Bill Whittle takes on the big problem.

Parents? The Schools? Television? Social Media? The Press? Hollywood? Absence of knowledge of history, math, economics, in favor of gender, sexism, racism, inability to read? What is most important and what should we tackle first?



Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to Iran’s Mullahs. by The Elephant's Child

a1900mknPresident Obama is furious about the criticism of his Iran Deal. I don’t think he expected opposition, and now he is afraid that Congress may actually attempt to defeat him.

Barack Obama came to office with a head full of cheering audiences, pre-presidential seals, roman columns, adoring songs and media excitement. Nobody paid much attention to his imitation of the Lincoln trip to the nation’s capital, and taking the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible, but it indicated the height of his self-expectation.

Obama believed that the problems of the Middle East, Bush’s unnecessary and evil war in Iraq, the problems of Afghanistan, the fighting between Sunni and Shiia, were all due to the problem of Israel’s intransigence. Obama intended to force Israel and Palestine to make peace, he would bring about a two-state solution, and we would withdraw from the Middle East, he would become the greatest president in U.S history, the United States would end its bullying interference in the world and we could just settle down to be one happy socialist nation among the nations of the earth — no more exceptional than any other.

Obama has consistently misled us about the concessions he as making to Iran. MEMRI (The Middle East Research Institute) has revealed that according to Iranian officials the secret negotiations with Iran began in 2011 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline “Death to America” official, was still Iran’s president. Claims that the election of Rouhani marked a moderate turn for Iran were bunk.

When the White House emerged from very prolonged nuclear negotiations in Europe with a tentative nuclear deal, President Barack Obama was enthusiastic. The deal he presented to Congress was essentially a settled deal. His administration had already submitted the terms to the United Nations for ratification and Obama was certain that made it a done deal. Then he assumed that the objections were all due to the evil Republicans, but no less a figure than Charles Schumer came out forcefully against the deal, and nine prominent House Democrats representing major constituencies also said they would vote against the deal. Virginia Senator Jim Webb has come out against it.

Barack Obama contends that those  who oppose him are making common cause with the Islamic Republic’s theocratic regime hardliners. That, or they are putting the interests of Israel above those of the United States. No president in history has ever made such outrageous claims about the opposition party.

He claims that” This is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated.” It actually rewards decades of covert and illegal nuclear activities by Iran.

He says this deal “permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”   Yet that agreement is only on paper, and Iran has a long, long record of cheating on every ‘agreement,’ including  during the long period of negotiations, when there was clear evidence of their cheating.

Obama says the deal contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. In reality the entire agreement is based on the assumption  that Iran will comply with the deal, which is highly unlikely.

“If Iran cheats, we can catch them, and we will.” said the president.  Iran says we will have no access to any military site, that inspections will have to give a lengthy advance notice, and they may just not allow any inspections anyway. We didn’t catch the Pakistanis, nor the North Koreans, nor the Libyans (though they voluntarily gave theirs up), we have always misjudged others efforts.

Even worse, we have pledged, in the agreement, to  help them develop their “peaceful” nuclear energy, visiting our nuclear plants, and protecting them from sabotage.

President Obama’s speech on the Deal at the American University was mean spirited and downright ugly. His idea, repeated, that the only choice was his deal or war, is nonsense. Iran declared war on America in 1979 and has been waging war ever since.

This president has never seriously attempted to work with Republicans in Congress at any time. He discarded any notion of working with his opponents with respect or showing a willingness to working with them a long time ago.

Monica Crowley, who is a keen observer of the scene in Washington DC. remarked last week that this White House is the most tightly-controlled in history, that Obama is the ultimate control-freak, and that nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval. No investigation is performed without his say-so.

This all seems to be based on a fantasy that Obama can turn the Middle East and all of its problems over to Iran, who will bring peace and order to the region, enabling America to leave the region in their capable hands. He denies the meaning of the “Death to America” cries, has extolled the ancient Persian dynasty, and ignores the extensive descriptions of the dangers of an EMP attack on the United States that are found in IRGC official papers. They just might go for that one, it’s estimated to kill 90% of all Americans. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC,  was just discovered visiting Moscow to see Vladimir Putin in complete defiance of Iran Deal prohibitions. Obama has gone into partnership with him.

The Ayatollah Khamenei has written a 426 page guide on how to rid Israel of the Jews. It’s his own version of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s 1925 tract against the Jews. He uses words like “nabudi” which means annihilation. It’s all based, he says, on “well-established Islamic principles.”

So we are giving them the Middle East, all of their sanctioned funds returned, the Ayatollah’s personal slush fund of $900 billion. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets. Obama has accepted their offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. They’re back in business with European countries anxious to trade. Nobody is shouting “Death to Germany” or “Death to France.” The IAEA admits that it cannot answer even the most basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.



Quotations Worth Remembering : by The Elephant's Child

From William Voegeli’s The Pity Party:

In contrast to America,countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL Draft as a way to get the talented that can benefit the institution and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by seven billion foreigners.

From Milton Friedman:

It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.




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