American Elephants


Who Said the Economy Could Not Return to 3% Growth? by The Elephant's Child

I frequently mutter something to the effect that Democrats don’t understand economics, that’s why they are Democrats. Democrats were saying that there was no chance of returning the economy to 3% growth, but as the media have once again reported, the economy “surprisingly” grew at a 3% pace in the third quarter, despite the impact of three major hurricanes. Most economists had reduced their estimates to just above 1% because of the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the economy. Those who keep expecting a big slowdown should look at what’s really going on.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, the National Association of Manufacturers survey and the Institute for Supply Management all report stronger optimism and rising factory output. Overall optimism hasn’t been this high in over a decade.

The current unemployment rate at 4.2% is the lowest since before the financial crisis. Total employment has jumped more than 2.2 million since Trump entered office. Even the broadest U.S. unemployment measure, so-called U6, now stands at 8.3% — its lowest since June of 2007.

Meanwhile, all major stock market indexes are up strongly since Trump’s unexpected win last November, with the Dow Jones industrial average breaching 23,000 for the first time this month. The stock market, as we’ve said before, is a reliable if imperfect predictor of future economic activity. Its message today is unequivocal: Expect more of the same.

Donald Trump has embarked on a sweeping round of deregulations in recent history. He got rid of Obama’s disastrous “Clean Power Plan,” and the Paris Climate Accord, which did nothing whatsoever for the climate and sent a lot of U.S. money to emerging nations to solve their climate problems. He is now removing the restrictions that Obama put on federal energy lands. Oil is flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline, and with the fracking revolution the United States will be a global energy powerhouse again.

Democrats are all about control, which means that they try to regulate everything. And regulation means extra costs, inefficient ways of doing things, silly extra requirements all of which slow an economy down. When excess regulation is removed, companies are encouraged to invest in new equipment, plants and training, and to hire more workers. That’s what makes an economy grow. Tax reform gives businesses more of their own money to  invest in growth.

The Federal Register, the bible of federal rules, came in at a record high 97,110 pages of rules under President Obama. Trump has already knocked it down the 45,678 pages, and he’s just getting started. Many of his new rules in the pipeline are about getting rid of old regulations.

Wayne Crews, who is CEI’s regulatory analyst, estimates that the economic cost to the economy is $2 trillion, or roughly 12% of  current GDP. Obama’s regulatory state has been especially hard on small businesses. I can name a significant number of small businesses who disappeared during the Obama administration.

 

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The Clinton Campaign and the DNC Funded the Trump Dossier by The Elephant's Child

It has been revealed by The Washington Post that the Clinton Campaign and the DNC paid for the research that produced the Russia dossier from which came the allegations that there were links between  President Trump and Russia and some kind of coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin. No wonder Hillary was so insistent about Trump’s Russian connections, her campaign had paid Fusion GPS to produce evidence.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer from Perkins Coie, who worked for the Clinton campaign and the DNC hired Fusion GPS in April, 2016 to investigate Trump. Fusion GPS hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to look into Trump’s activities and contacts in Russia. Steele had worked in Moscow during his time in British intelligence. He eventually produced a 35 page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated between June 20, 2016 and Dec. 13.

Fusion has refused requests from Congress and even in lawsuits to reveal the identities of its clients, and news reports had been vague. A Republican donor who was extremely opposed to Trump reportedly hired Fusion in September of 2015, to conduct routine opposition research, but his identity has not been revealed.

According to the Post, the Clinton Campaign and the DNC paid Fusion through the end of October 2016 just before the election, which they expected to win handily. Federal Election Commission records show the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie a total of $5.6 million since November of 2015.

Democrats are weary of Hillary’s book tour, she’s been to England and Canada to sell the book and complain about the unfairness of it all. They wish she would quietly go away. Former candidates are usually not ready to give up, but the people have moved on. The Russia connection is over, but the rage against Trump in general (racist, sexist, fascist) continues even as the list of his accomplishments piles up.

And what was the part of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her aide who is under indictment? Former DNC chairman Schultz and current leaders of the DNC claim they have no knowledge that the national party was involved with funding a dossier compiled by a British spy which contained scandalous accusations about President Trump. Keith Ellison and Tom Perez claim no knowledge of any association with Perkins Coie. The mystery thickens. There is clearly much more that will and should come out. It’s not going to be pretty.

ADDENDUM: According to a complaint filed today with the Federal Election Commission, the Clinton campaign violated election laws when they failed to report the campaign’s payments for the Russian Dossier.

The complaint from the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said the Democrats effectively hid the payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.

“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC and a former FEC official. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”

Then there is this posted by Steven Hayward at Powerline. It’s both a don’t miss this, and too cringe inducing to bear. Do watch at least the small excerpt if you can, and the whole thing if you can stand it. Sad.



General John Kelly: An Emotional Press Conference by The Elephant's Child

If you haven’t watched this today, please watch it now. It’s important. General Kelly takes on the media reaction to a presidential call to a bereaved widow who just lost her husband.

He patiently explains just how the American military treats the loss of one of their own, step by step. General Kelly understands the whole thing deeply, from all sides. He understands enlisting in the military, serving in war, reaching a position where he must send men into harm’s way, and losing some of them to an enemy, and making calls and sorrowing with the bereaved. And he’s been notified of the loss of his own son and received the condolence calls and visits himself.

A Florida congresswoman disgraced herself and her party. Contemptible.



Of Course They Are Fighting Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

Here in Washington State, our Governor, Jay Inslee, released a statement today on the EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan:

By repealing the Clean Power Plan, President Trump and his EPA administrator are recklessly removing any meaningful, science-based federal restraint on the carbon pollution that power plants are allowed to pump into our atmosphere. The United States Supreme Court has ruled on three separate occasions that the EPA has a responsibility, under the Clean Air Act and other federal laws, to protect American communities from harmful carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan was constructed to give states the flexibility to choose its own path to a clean energy future, and hold each state responsible for reducing carbon pollution. This decision by the EPA instead rejects science and directly threatens Americans’ health and well-being.

Washington state is already feeling the harmful and costly effects of climate change – in more devastating wildfire seasons, strained water resources, increasingly acidic coastal waters, and more. And we are taking action to respond: at my direction, the Washington State Department of Ecology has implemented the nation’s first Clean Air Rule, to limit carbon pollution from our state’s largest sources. We are investing in new clean energy technologies – fueling jobs and business growth in an area with tremendous economic opportunity. We are partnering with other states – through the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance – to fill the void left by the Trump Administration’s total abdication of American leadership.

This action by the EPA is a setback in the struggle against climate change, but it will not and cannot stop Washington state and our determined allies in the fight against this existential threat.

Climate change has nothing to do with wildfire or strained water resources, the coastal waters are not increasingly acidic. “Clean energy” from sun and wind does not create jobs and business growth. Wind is intermittent and does not blow steadily enough to be a valid source of energy, and solar energy is too diffuse. Countries like Germany that got very involved with clean energy to keep the climate from changing, are finding that the result has been a spiraling cost of energy, and a lot of energy poverty among the people who can’t afford to keep their houses warm.

Governor Inslee is allied with Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown who is blaming the horrific wildfires now burning up the wine district and whatever else is in the direction the wind is blowing—on, of course, climate change.

California Gov. Jerry Brown warns that catastrophic wildfires will keep ripping through the state as the climate warms. …

He said a warming climate has contributed to catastrophic wildfires. “That’s the way it is with a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture.” said Brown. “These kind of catastrophes have happened and they’ll continue to happen, and we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate.”

The governor has positioned himself as a leader in the fight against climate change.

No wonder Leftist governors like to “position themselves” as “leaders in the fight against climate change.” It gives them a vast cause which they are powerless to fight, but is readily available to absorb all the blame for whatever is going wrong. I wonder if he’ll figure out a way to assign the immense cost overruns and pointless high-speed rail to climate change.  They don’t even have to know anything about climate science, the effectiveness of “clean energy” sources, or even what could possibly be involved in climate change if it were real. It’s just a perfect dumping ground for whatever catastrophe Mother Nature has in store for us. San Francisco’s air quality is off the charts—climate change. Wine country won’t e producing grapes for years yet—climate change. Floods, landslides, torrential rain, hot spells, mountain passes impassable—climate change. Earthquake, endangered species, see how handy it is.

I had been annoyed because none of these officials ever seemed to do their homework, to read any of the science, to understand why so many reputable scientists cast aspersions on the climate change idea. Of course they officially are true believers. It gets them off the hook for whatever happens.

Silly me. I just thought they were lazy or stupid.



The Final Bill For the Standing Rock Protests is About $43 Million by The Elephant's Child

021517-debris-1-1170x775The protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline ended back at the end of February, with 240 rollout dumpsters to carry away the mess the protesters left behind. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned on spending more than $1 million just to clean up. At the end of September North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services announced that taxpayers will have to pay about $43 million in expenses accrued as the state struggled to respond to the 233 days of protesters.

The Standing Rock protesters claimed that they were “peaceful and prayerful,” but rioters “threw stones, feces and Molotov cocktails at cops, obstructed roads, set fires, and even rode on horseback behind a herd of bison, attempting to stampede them towards law enforcement.” 8,000 to 10,000 people camped out to protest the pipeline. Local authorities had to ask for help from law enforcement in 11 states to cope. More than 750 protesters were arrested and at least 107 of those charged have pleaded guilty or been found guilty, some on multiple counts. Most of the costs will be paid by North Dakotans, but the Department of Justice provided the state with a $10 million grant which make taxpayers nationwide responsible for the Leftist’s criminal antics.

The protests, of course were not about tribal rights or cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned or controlled by the Standing Rock Sioux, the land in question belongs to the federal government or private owners.

The tribe was consulted, more than 50 tribes were consulted, and resulted in 140 adjustments to the route. It was not about the water, the drinking water intake is about 70 miles downriver from where the pipeline was slated to cross the Missouri River, and runs 100 feet below the river. It was not about the climate. The oil has already been produced and transporting it by train or truck is far more susceptible to accidents and spills.

The protests ended pretty much when winter set in. Camping out is not nearly so much fun when it gets really cold. And once the oil was flowing as intended, the protests were moot.

piepline-protest

 



Did FDR End the Great Depression? Nope! by The Elephant's Child

It has long been accepted knowledge that Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved America from the Great Depression, which lasted and lasted and lasted. But is that true? A few years previously, Calvin Coolidge faced another depression. He essentially did nothing, and the economy recovered quickly. FDR embarked on a series of endless experimentation to see just what would work to end the hard times, and managed to make it last and last. Really hard times.

Here’s Lee Ohanian, Professor of Economics at UCLA, who decided to take another careful look. Listen carefully.



A Small Step Forward on Campus Disruptions by The Elephant's Child

It has come to this—the University of Wisconsin administration is, “taking steps to crack down on protesters who push their right to free speech and protest to the point where they shout down or entirely shut out speakers with whom they disagree.”

University of Wisconsin System leaders approved a policy Friday that calls for suspending and expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations, saying students need to listen to all sides of issues and arguments.

The Board of Regents adopted the language on a voice vote during a meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. The policy states that students found to have twice engaged in violence or other disorderly conduct that disrupts others’ free speech would be suspended. Students found to have disrupted others’ free expression three times would be expelled.

“Perhaps the most important thing we can do as a university is to teach students how to engage and listen to those with whom they differ,” system President Ray Cross told the regents. “If we don’t show students how to do this, who will? Without civil discourse and a willingness to listen and engage with different voices, all we are doing is reinforcing our existing values.”

The astonishing thing is that this perfectly reasonable step has become news. Ben Shapiro was shouted down at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last year. Jazz Shaw, author of the piece,raises questions about “who determines what differentiates disruption from legitimate protest?” What about protesters who are not students? And asks what is a disruption and what is protesting and expressing an opposing opinion?

How about just plain bad manners? Why is it acceptable to protest an invited speaker? Why does someone have the right to keep others from hearing a speech? Seems to me that someone who disrupts a speech should be quietly removed from the room. Why do they get to engage in violence or disorderly conduct twice before they get suspended? The University of Wisconsin seems to be on the right track, but way too wishy-washy.

Student protests seem to be all the rage, quite fashionable. In most cases an example of student ignorance and bad manners. I think immediately of the misguided protests against Charles Murray and Heather MacDonald at Middlebury and Claremont respectively. It is the students who are violating Constitutional rights of free speech, not engaging in it. And part of a University’s job of turning out responsible citizens might be teaching about basic manners.




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