American Elephants

The Unintended Consequences of the War on the Police by The Elephant's Child
May 22, 2015, 6:22 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Policing, The Epidemic | Tags: , , ,

Jonathan Tobin has an essential essay at Commentary magazine’ Contentions blog, on “The Real Victims of the War on Police.”

From last summer’s disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri to the more recent riots in Baltimore, the country has been engaged in a debate about police violence that has hinged on accusations of systematic racism. Regardless of the findings about the shooting in Ferguson or the racial identity of the Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a narrative about police racism has become entrenched in our popular culture that has remained impervious to reason or the facts. One of the consequences of this war on police that has been encouraged by statements coming from the very top of our government, including the president and the attorney general, have been incidents of violence against police. When officers go down that generates some attention, yet less discussed is the way the lives of people in poverty-stricken minority neighborhoods are affected by this attempt to blame the nation’s ills on white racism. But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, it is precisely they who are suffering as arrests have gone down in Baltimore in the last month while violent crime has increased dramatically.

In the weeks after Gray’s death as scrutiny and criticism of the Baltimore police has intensified, arrests have gone down by a rate of 40 percent when compared to the same period of time in 2013 and 2014. What makes this figure so startling is that it includes the hundreds that were arrested during the riots that rocked portions of the city. At the same time, violence in the Western district of the city where the riots occurred has gone up in a way far outpacing the increase in the rest of the city.

What’s happened here is obvious. Nothing can or should excuse alleged police misbehavior and if the six officers — three white and three African-Americans — are convicted of responsibility for Gray’s death while in their custody, they will deserve to be harshly punished. But the willingness of so many people, both on the streets and on the airwaves, to take it as a given that the cops are alien invaders who must be resisted has made it difficult if not impossible for them to do their jobs. The whole essay is here.

What is clear is that there is no “epidemic” of black men dying at the hands of police. The epidemic, Jason Riley says, is of “Young black men dying at the hands of other black men.” But nobody wants to talk about that. Nor do they want to talk about the news that the protesters in Ferguson were bussed in from groups like New Black Panthers, ANSWER and the US Human Rights Network, Now they are complaining that they never got paid. MORE owed the protesters money.

There are always unintended consequences. When the administration makes claims of police brutality, the police are afraid to make arrests. That means that more crime is ignored or excused. Democrats really don’t get incentives nor think about unintended consequences. They are concerned with empathy, and they care about poor black people. They will happily vote for more funds for the schools though. That’s why Baltimore has some of the highest expenditure on students in the country. And nothing will change, nothing at all.

Awash In an Ocean of Politically Contrived Nonsense! by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Politics


In his speech to the graduating Coast Guard Cadets today. the president expressed his belief that the most serious national security threat to our nation is climate change. This time he went on at some length to explain his views. He apparently sees the Coast Guard as having a special concern with climate change because of rising seas.

His speech tells us that he is surrounded by people who tell him what he wants to hear. “Our analysts in the intelligence community know that climate change is happening.” (well, yes the climate is always changing. No one denies that.) But if our analysts in the intelligence community think that our greatest national security challenge is climate change — we need a new intelligence community.

The science is indisputable. The fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat. And the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years.  The planet is getting warmer. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. Last year was the planet’s warmest year ever recorded.

Our scientists at NASA just reported that some of the sea ice around Antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. The world’s glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. Over the past century, the world sea level rose by about eight inches. That was in the last century; by the end of this century, it’s projected to rise another one to four feet.

If this is what is being taught to the cadets, we’re in trouble. If our president understands so little about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program, emphasized by Saudi Arabia’s announcement that they are purchasing nukes off the Pakistani shelves means a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is on. He calls ISIS a JV team, Seems ready to turn the Middle East over to Iran to manage, but he’s worried that many of our military installations are on the coast.

Do read the whole speech, which is here. Almost everything in the speech is just plain false, and it doesn’t take much of a search to prove it. The climate refugees of whom he speaks may be those hardy souls who are likely to be evacuated from Antarctic bases because the sea ice is so thick that supply ships cannot reach them, and they are having to be supplied by helicopter. The warming and cooling of the earth is determined by the sun, not the carbon dioxide we exhale.

Climate Depot takes on the job of rebutting the president’s farcical speech. Scientific studies, data and history, and simply the daily news refute his claims. I borrowed Climate Depot’s photoshop above. The real problem is far larger than the multitude of errors in his speech, but what it says about the current administration that the president can be so poorly informed and be so sure that the whole apparatus of the government not only agrees with him about the problems, but backs his assessment of the dangers to our national security.

If so, that is really scary!

Familiar (or not) Quotations — Worth Repeating! by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2015, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , , ,


This Robert Heinlein quote may be familiar, or not, but it is certainly worth repeating:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”.

President Barack Obama’s Poverty Program by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2015, 6:22 am
Filed under: Politics, The Left, The Poor | Tags: , , ,


President Obama took part last week in a conference at Georgetown University on Poverty, and appeared on a panel with Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam and AEI president Arthur Brooks, which was billed as a ‘conversation’ on poverty, moderated by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne. The president and the moderator managed some quick remarks on how it would take a “miracle” to get GOP leaders to care about the poor.

The problem is that “care” or empathy is defined as spending other people’s money. Yet if the problem is bad schools, more money is the answer only if the problem is caused by a shortage of funds, not if it is caused by poor teachers, or teacher’s unions refusal to get rid of bad teachers.

Mr. Obama felt that financiers, and conservatives were too apt to send their own children to exclusive schools and refuse to give more funding to regular schools. Nobody brought up the fact that both Mr, and Mrs Obama went to exclusive private schools as children and their children attended Sidwell Friends School, the most exclusive in Washington D.C.And President Obama has consistently fought the small amount of money that goes to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program which has been a lifeline to many poor children to get into exclusive private schools.

If you equate “caring” only with greater spending, you may not be addressing causation at all. Michael Ramirez, with his usual genius for the visual metaphor, manages to capture the essence.

Hello Young People, I’m Hillary Clinton by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Campaign 2016, Democrat Corruption, Hillary Clinton | Tags: , ,

JennaMarbles@youtube is very funny.

“You’re an AfricanAmericanMiddleClassHomosexual? I care about you!”

(h/t: American Digest)

Ramadi Has Fallen to ISIS, And ISIS Has Taken Palmyra. by The Elephant's Child
May 17, 2015, 6:39 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , ,

Ramadi has fallen to ISIS. Ramadi was really where the Anbar Awakening began,”the movement,” Max Boot said, “started by Colonel Sean MacFarland in Ramadi in 200, to mobilize Sunni tries against AQI.” (al Qaeda in Iraq)

After having lost hundreds of American soldiers in Ramadi and its environs since 2003, US efforts finally appeared to have paid off. AQI had been routed of the capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate, and would soon be routed out of the rest of the Sunni Triangle. Victory was in sight.

It is all the more heartbreaking, therefore, to read now that the Islamic State—AQI’s successor organization—has seized the government center in Ramadi. Islamic State extremists detonated a series of suicide car bombs on Thursday to punch their way through fortifications protecting the government headquarters. Reports were that, after the headquarters fell, black-clad fanatics were going to door-to-door, executing tribal fighters who opposed their onslaught. Government security forces and many civilians were fleeing in panic. As Michael Auslin of the American Enterprise Institute points out, it’s as if the Marines, having taken Iwo Jima, had abandoned it and the Japanese had lowered the stars and stripes on Mount Suribachi.

“Leading from behind” is a bad enough strategy when America’s allies take the lead. It is an utterly ruinous strategy when America’s enemies take the lead. But that s what is now happening in Iraq.”

Obama has authorized fewer than 3,000 trainers who are confined to base and not allowed to recruit, train or arm Sunni tribesmen. Nor are they allowed to personally call in airstrikes. They have to depend on Iraqi security forces who are dominated by Iranian security forces to tell them what to bomb. In the guise of fighting ISIS, Iran is taking over most of Iraq.

Obama has illusions of becoming partners with Iran, the world’s greatest terrorist-sponsoring state, and assigning Iran the task of managing the Middle East.  AQs yet, he is utterly unable to explain to the American people just where the war effort stands and what he plans to do differently. The Arab states are begging for American leadership, but that seems not to be what Obama does.

The West’s war against ISIS puts the U.S. and Europe tacitly on the side of Assad, the Iranians, and their joint Lebanese proxy Hezbollah for the simple reason that we’re all fighting ISIS at the same time while leaving one another alone. Tehran can hardly contain itself. “One of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism,” Weiss and Hassan write, “now presents itself as the last line of defense against terrorism.” The idea that a state sponsor of terrorism could ever be a reliable partner against international terrorism is ludicrous.


Exploratory Drilling in the Arctic? Oh my Stars and Garters! by The Elephant's Child
May 16, 2015, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,


If you want to learn something about the energy business, take notice of the current environmental hissy-fit over news that the Obama Administration might allow a teeny bit of oil drilling in the Arctic.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has finally issued conditional approval to Royal Dutch Shell to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of northwest Alaska. The Arctic Ocean is estimated to hold at least 30 billion barrels of oil, and a potential 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas. A fresh stream of Arctic oil would replenish the Trans-Alaska pipeline and continue the U,S. energy boom driven by the shale revolution.

The real story is how long Shell has had to wait and how tentative this approval still is. Shell was awarded its leases in 2008 and has spent six years and $6 billion waiting to be able to exploit the contracts. The conditional approval on Monday means Shell must still obtain seven federal and state permits before it can touch a drill bit. The decision also comes with a bevy of new rules and restrictions on Shell’s operations. All this to begin a handful of exploratory wells.

Shell wants to start this summer after the ice breaks, but environmental groups will certainly go to court to try for further delays. The WSJ adds that:

The Administration seems to have made an exception for Shell in part because it was running out of excuses for delay. Our sources add that the government would lose all credibility with industry and the public if it reneged on such a costly lease contract.

President Obama’s decision to honor Shell’s drilling leases also must be viewed against his push to close off most other exploration. In 2010 Mr. Obama shut down half of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Earlier this year he used executive authority to wall off most of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and he’s put most of the Arctic Ocean off-limits.

The green Left is howling about “license to despoil our last pristine ocean” but things have not been going well for them. The price of gas has dropped significantly enough to be a boon to the average family. Demand for electric cars is way off, the huge investment in wind and solar has resulted in chopped up eagles and solar-fried birds by the thousands. And green-energy companies keep going bankrupt. Taxpayers are soaked for $150 billion for wind and solar alone.

The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management must be a new invention of the Obama Administration in Obama’s ongoing efforts to grow the size of government. Russia has an aggressive program of Arctic exploration and Arctic dominance. They have rebuilt and reestablished their former Arctic bases and clearly are driving to dominate the region.

Americans need to remember that the American economy runs on energy, preferably cheap energy. It means more jobs, more prosperity, more innovation and more entrepreneurs. Leftist propaganda aside, that’s a good thing. If you are keeping tabs of the things that are a drag on the economy, consider over-regulation, and the cost of useless environmental lawsuits and wait times to get approval from a federal agency. Our government does not have to work so badly. Real efficiency may be asking too much, but there is always hope.


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