American Elephants


Why Do They Never Learn? Socialism Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

BN-KA013_venloo_J_20150825170528How is it possible, in a world that has demonstrated so clearly that Socialism simply does not work, to have a candidate for the office of President of the United States who is an avowed socialist? Barack Obama may not adopt the label, but his efforts to expand government control over ever more of the economy, to regulate American lives, and to strive for more redistribution of wealth and “social justice” or forced equality have no relation to free markets and free people.

Democrats’ big ideas aren’t working. Detroit, under Democratic governance has declined from America’s richest city to a cesspool of poverty. New York, cleaned up under Rudy Giuliani, has declined into crime again, and New Yorkers are not only complaining, but becoming fearful.

San Francisco, designated as a “sanctuary city,” has that designation to thank for the murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal alien who had been deported over and over.  In 1994, the voters approved a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law which led to  overcrowded prisons. The Supreme Court in 2009 ordered the state to reduce the prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity, or one inmate per cell.

That led to Prop 47, which reduced many felonies to misdemeanors, and an 50,000 reduction in the prison population and a rise in crime. The responsibility for incarcerating prisons was turned over to local sheriffs. Neighborhood are not as safe. People are moving out of California in droves. Yet “Black Lives Matter” is a very real drive to blame the high murder rate in inner city neighborhoods on policing. There are always unintended consequences.

Social justice in California has led to a wealthy coastal corridor and poverty in the rest of the state.

If the failure of Democrats’ ideas of social justice utopias in America don’t convince you, let’s turn to the newly-reopened embassy in Havana. Obama said that if 50 years of isolating Cuba had not worked, we should try something else. But precisely what does he mean by hadn’t worked? Cuba is a poverty stricken country where the people have to line up for bread, the 1950’s era cars are not there because they are quaint and picturesque, but because that’s all they have. Fidel Castro, on the other hand has been listed in Forbes as one of the world’s richest men. A lot of arms dealing, narco-terrorism, that sort of thing. Viva  la revolucion!

Obama’s big idea seems to be that if America just stops being the big bully, throwing our weight around, and offers our helping hand in peace, while removing all sanctions and barriers, then they will reciprocate because they care about their people and their children. Unfortunately, no they don’t.

In Venezuela, it’s all falling apart. Socialism is in a death spiral. The people have to stand in line for hours to buy ordinary staples like corn flour or laundry soap. Looting and violence are on the rise in supermarkets, but there’s nothing on the shelves anyway. No toilet paper, food shortages, people are going hungry.    There are fights when delivery trucks arrive with chicken or milk. The break-even price for Venezuelan oil is estimated to be $151 per barrel.  Today’s  price for Brent crude   is $47.10.

Supporters of the ruling Socialist Party note that the network of subsidized state-run grocery stores created by late president Hugo Chavez and financed by plentiful oil revenue helped reduce poverty and hunger during his 1999-2013 rule.

Typically, the late  Hugo Chavez’s  second-eldest daughter  may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela. Maria Gabriela Chavez reportedly has stashed away a cool $4.2 billion in American and Andorran banks according to Diario las Americas. The ruling class typically does pretty well.

Hugo Chavez  was, after Fidel Castro, the tin pot dictator most admired by Democrats in Hollywood and Washington.

When Senator Bernie Sanders describes himself as a socialist,his critics point to such experiments as Cuba and North Korea, but they explain, no, no Democratic socialism. Socialism does not work.

Nicholas Maduro has been cracking down for years on newspapers, radio, any source of free speech. You cannot have free speech and a socialist government. Have you not noticed the Obama administration’s attacks on free speech?

Venezuelans are running out of food, and starvation is possible. Medicines, even the most usual kinds are unavailable. Everything the Maduro government does makes things worse.

Armed soldiers monitor supermarkets as part of an effort the president calls “Operation People’s Liberation.”

The picture is simply one of the lines for non-existent food in Venezuela.

 



Crime is Surging, Activists Should Be Careful What They Wish For. by The Elephant's Child

ows_140641963894859“Everett D. Mitchell is the Director of Community Relations at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  He is also an attorney, pastor and community leader.”

At a recent panel discussion, addressing policing practices, Mr. Mitchell said that police should stop prosecuting individuals who shoplift from Wal-Mart and Target.

He simply believes that police have no justification to arrest thieves who steal from Wal-Mart or Target—because they are big box stores with insurance.

“I just don’t think they should be prosecuting cases for people who steal from Wal-Mart. I don’t think that. I don’t think that Target, and all them other places – the big boxes that have insurance – they shouldn’t be using the people that steal from there as justification to start engaging in aggressive police behavior.”

He began his speech advocating for legal relativism, the notion that communities should decide for themselves which laws should be enforced and which laws should not, in order to better recognize what safety means for that specific community.

There are some poor neighborhoods that are largely black, where drugs and crime are a major problem. Drug use and drug sales bring more crime, and gangs. High crime can foster drug use. Single parents have a harder time of bringing up kids and keeping them out of trouble. If one lives in such a neighborhood, and friends’ brothers or husbands are in jail, friends have gone to prison—it would be easy to assume that it was aggressive police behavior, not misbehavior by your friends or relatives.

In the wake of the Ferguson riots, the “hands up, don’t shoot”cry of activists gradually died out when it became clear that wasn’t even true. The new slogan became “Black Lives Matter,” which is having a poisonous effect on the very neighborhoods where the protests are taking place.

Police become afraid of arresting a suspect if they will be accused of racism or improper policing. Contrary to Mr. Mitchell’s views, stealing from Wal-Mart is against the law just as much as stealing from a bank. But if smaller crimes are not dealt with, criminal behavior increases.

Rudy Giuliani cleaned up a dangerous and crime-ridden New York City by adhering to what is called the “Broken Windows Theory.” If a parked car has broken windows and they are not repaired, it will soon be stripped because it is assumed that it is abandoned and nobody cares. Ditto buildings. When police cracked down on the small stuff, the squeegee men, the litter, and the disorder, with walking neighborhood patrols, people felt safer and things improved, even if the crime rate didn’t immediately drop.

The temptation is to assume that police are the problem, and if they can just get rid of the police and policing they will be safer. All police are not perfect, but they take on what is often a dangerous job of protecting the citizens in their jurisdiction. If police are badly treated,  their orders ignored, or if police are attacked, the activists may get what they want, and quickly come to regret what they have lost. Police are only human, and way too many are killed in the line of duty.



Obama Is Not Just Wrong, He Is Dangerously Wrong, And Putting American Lives At Risk. by The Elephant's Child

640x392_63122_187994You have probably heard the old saying about “setting the fox to guard the henhouse”— a parable intended to tell you that the nature of a fox is to eat the hen, and you cannot put someone in charge of a task that they are by nature unqualified to fulfill. Which brings us, of course, to the startling news that Obama’s Iran Deal gives Iran the choice assignment of inspecting their own military sites such as Parchin and then to give the results to the IAEA.

Those old parables handed down from one generation to another are ignored at our peril. They represent hard-learned wisdom and form part of the guardrails of life.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Nuclear Physicist, says that we can tell from soil samples the extent to which Iran is developing a nuke. All very fine, except that Iran gets to  produce the soil sample.

Obama is quite sure that Iran would never actually set off a nuclear weapon. He has said so. He believes that when Iran’s funds are released from the sanctions, the money will be used to fix their economy because there has been a lot of hardship for the people and the Ayatollah will want to fix that. He has said so. He believes that Iran wants to become one among the community of nations, and will take care of the Middle East. defeating ISIS and bringing order to the region. He is wrong.

The American Foreign Policy Council’s Amanda Azinheira wrote of the risks in Defense News on Wednesday: “A nuclear warhead detonated 18 miles off the ground anywhere over the eastern seaboard could collapse the whole eastern grid, which generates 75% of the country’s electricity. The recovery time from a nationwide EMP event might be anywhere from one to 10 years. In the meantime, tens of millions of Americans would likely die from starvation and/or societal collapse.”

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies chairman and former CIA Director James Woolsey and EMP Task Force Executive Director Peter Vincent Pry wrote in the Washington Times about Iran and an EMP attack.

Iran has apparently practiced surprise EMP attacks, orbiting satellites on south polar trajectories to evade U.S. radars and missile defenses, at altitudes consistent with generating an EMP field covering all 48 contiguous United States,” according to Woolsey and Pry. “Iran launched its fourth satellite on such a trajectory as recently as February 2015.”

They also noted that the use of nuclear infrastructure permitted under the Iran deal makes getting an EMP weapon “relatively easy.”

Supposedly, we can harden off the grid to an EMP attack, but it has to be done by individual states, who are waiting for the federal government, but nobody seems to regard it as urgent. I have seen estimates of costs in the low billion range, but my knowledge ranges from scant to not much. No one wants to believe that such a thing could happen, because it sounds too much like a science fiction movie.

“Death to America” has never been, as Mr. Obama has claimed, simply a a public relations thing for public consumption. The Iranian people hate the tyrannical government. The Iranian military is planning to be able to make a nuclear EMP attack.

The urgent thing seems to be letting your representatives in Congress know how important it is that they oppose the Iran Deal in Congress, and override the President’s inevitable veto.



Bald Eagles Win: You Don’t Get to Chop Up Our National Bird! by The Elephant's Child

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When the federal government got all excited about cheap, clean, renewable energy by harnessing the wind, the gullible talked a lot about “natural,” and “free.” They looked for sites where there seemed to be the most continuous wind, which often turned out to be mountain passes which were also natural flyways for raptors and migratory birds.

Quite a few things were wrong with their plans. The mountain passes and flyways were not located anywhere near to power plants, and hooking up the energy was expensive. Eagles were listed as a protected species. The Obama administration was more interested in wind energy than in a bunch of birds, so they crafted a rule to give wind farms a legal path to “accidentally kill” eagles, as long as they agree to a number of mitigation and monitoring requirements to ensure that the population of eagles remained stable. The Bald Eagle is our national bird, hero of patriotic films and videos, and you don’t get to just chop them up.

dead_white-tailed_eagle-5001-e1416108699316Bird advocacy groups argued that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lacked the resources or know-how to ensure that permits actually benefit the nation’s official bird, and its golden cousins. The American Bird Conservancy issued the following press release yesterday in response to a U.S. District Court ruling.

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government.

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government.

I’d love to see the court costs for the efforts of the Obama administration to avoid complying with the law. Obama really doesn’t want to be bothered with laws and Constitutions, but go ahead and do it anyway, and just try to stop me. That ancient bit about “to the best of my Ability. preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” is so inconvenient.



Not a Lot of Media Coverage of the Decline and Fall of the EPA by The Elephant's Child

gty_mine_wastewater_spill_03_jc_150811_4x3_992-e1439327486898-620x266Have you noticed that there is not a lot of media coverage about the big EPA toxic mine tailings spill? Have you noticed that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is not out in the Navajo lands consulting with Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye? The spill has been quietly upped from one million gallons to three million gallons, but that’s pretty complicated math and probably nobody knows.

This is very big and very bad news for the EPA and for the Obama Administration. It has been six days, and we still don’t know just what happened, just how toxic the surge is, and how long-lasting it will be. They have spoken of  toxic metals, lead, arsenic, cadmium (which I assume is responsible for the yellow color) and what else? There are lots of farms and ranches. How do they cope with water being trucked in, and what do they do with their livestock?

Perhaps the national press will take notice when the plume of yellow muck reaches the Grand Canyon National Park. I have been interested to see the utter contempt with which many seem to regard the Environmental Protection Agency.



The EPA Strikes Out Again. The Clean Power Plan Will Prevent 0.03 Degrees of Warming by 2100. by The Elephant's Child

National Climate Change Certification SchemeThe Obama Administration recently unveiled the president’s “Clean Power Plan” — regulations to shut down more coal-fired power plants in favor of “clean” wind and solar. They are still sure that carbon dioxide, that stuff you exhale, that is plant food and essential to life is a “pollutant”— the zealots at the EPA weren’t paying attention in high school biology. Dr. Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech said:

It has been estimated that the U.S. [climate plan] of 28% emissions reduction by 2015 will prevent 0.03 [degrees Celsius] in warming by 2100.

And these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct. If the climate models are over-sensitive to CO2, the amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.

The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan aims to reduce emissions of CO2 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA claimed all sorts of public health benefits (starting with asthma, it’s always asthma) but carefully avoids any mention of the rule’s impact on global temperatures.

The agency also justified the Clean Power Plan by claiming it would reduce asthma rates, which they say will be exacerbated by global warming. A White House fact sheet claims the rule will “avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.”

(They always use asthma premature deaths because physicians do not know the cause of asthma.)

As far as the global warming thing goes — there has been no warming whatsoever for 18 years and 7 months. None. And things are just not lining up as the warmists expect them to.

Sydney Australia has snow for the first time since 1836. That ‘s the year when Andrew Jackson was president of the United States, Victoria was still a year away from being crowned Queen of England on her 18th birthday, and Davy Crockett died at the Alamo.

The Big Island of Hawaii had snowfall in July. There was also snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California in July. Antarctica has set a new record for ice extent in 2014 and continues to set records for the extent of ice around the southern continent.

Some solar scientists are projecting that due to changes in the sun’s cycles, the earth is likely to suffer from a “Little Ice Age” beginning around 2030. If this is the case, we will need to build more greenhouses, stop shutting down coal plants. Cold kills, and it’s not healthy for plant life either.

The reason is simple. The global warming agenda is not about the planet.

The head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, readily admits that the real climate change agenda has nothing to do with the environment, but instead is about redistribution of wealth. “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves,” she says, “which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”



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.




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