American Elephants


There are Always Consequences, You Just Have to Learn to Recognize Them. by The Elephant's Child
June 26, 2015, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: ,

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The Supreme Court has declared the Constitution meaningless, or at least the separation of powers. They are busy making law from the bench, which is not their function. Their job is to decide if a law in question agrees with the Constitution, not make up new and different emanations. In Australia, Canada and Britain, you can go to prison for expressing objectionable speech. Think about that.

The Left has long been at war with free speech. They often have really bad ideas, but they don’t like to be disagreed with, and they really and truly want you prevented from so doing. Hillary has said that when she becomes president, she will have a litmus test for Supreme Court candidates. They have to promise to repeal the Court’s Citizens United decision. Well, of course she would, it was a campaign piece critical of Hillary, but it was about free speech.

The Court has firmly said that corporate money spent on a campaign according to the election laws is free speech. The McCain-Finegold law  that limited spending on political advocacy by corporations and unions was unconstitutional. Lively political debate is supposed to benefit everyone. The Left was sure that Union spending was fine, but not corporate money. It all depends on whose Ox is getting gored.

Our Universities have become hotbeds of liberal thought, and they are teaching the current generation of students that they are little snowflakes who must not be offended. This falls under the “inside every liberal is a tyrant trying to get out” department. Nobody likes to be insulted or enjoys being offended, but suck it up kids.

Tyranny is a lot worse than merely being offended. Eventually that gets around to disposing of those who disagree. Today, it is the attempt to rename any campus buildings that were named for anyone who was a racist, that designation to be supplied by the “offended” kids. Be very careful what you wish for.

That said, the professors and administrators who allow and encourage such things as “microaggressions” and “triggering” should be fired.  You are not engaging in critical thinking (supposedly a goal of higher ed) but destroying clear thought. “Life is hard” our parents or grandparents tried to explain to us. Life gets a lot harder if you cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, or reality and fantasy.



We are not their subjects. They work for us. by The Elephant's Child

A House Republican has introduced the SCOTUSScare Act which would make all nine justices and their employees join the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare law exchanges. It would only allow the federal government to provide healthcare through the exchanges.

Not going to go anywhere, but the policy of not applying laws inflicted on the rest of society, but not our representatives in the federal government, is problematic. Our elected representatives, including the president and all his appointees work for us. We are not their subjects. Ours is a government “of the people and by the people,” and when  you vote — keep that in mind.

Hillary’s refusal to answer questions, and rude telling one of the people to “just go to the end of the line” should give you pause.

Any law passed by Congress and signed by the president should apply equally to those in the government.



Call it ScotusCare! The Supreme Court Does Legislating From the Bench. by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court announced their decision in King v, Burwell. Conservatives are dismayed at the Court’s complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act. President Obama has been threatening the court for days attempting to cow the Supremes. What influence his threats had is not known, but hopefully is is none. Nevertheless, Chief Justice Roberts bypassed the separation of powers, and decided to help the Democrats out by assuming that the law didn’t mean what it said, and he would fix it by rewriting it. Essentially what he did the last time around. Rewriting the words of Congress to mean what they would have to say to make the law work — is making law.  The Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether the words as written are Constitutional, that’s the judicial function. Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting, called it “somersaults of statutory interpretation” but it is legislating, not judging.

Holman Jenkins got it right:

By one standard no government program can fail, and that’s the standard being applied to ObamaCare by its supporters: If a program exists and delivers benefits, the program is working.

The polls do show that 74% of ObamaCare’s eight million enrollees are satisfied with their plans, because 87% of them are getting taxpayer subsidies that amount to an annual $3,312 per recipient, which is a pretty good deal for the recipients, not so much for the taxpayers. Oddly enough, those who are basically in good health, but just need flu shots or treatment for some minor deal, a broken arm, a sore throat are pretty pleased with their health care.Taxpayers who find that their premiums are going up 20% – 30%. or who find out their deductible has gone up to $6,000 aren’t so happy, because they are paying their premiums and their full medical bills besides. Jenkins again:

The right question about any program is whether the benefits justify the expenditure of taxpayer money. ObamaCare’s cheerleaders provide not cost-benefit analysis but benefit analysis—as if money grows on trees or is donated by Martians or can be printed in limitless quantities by the Fed. …

In the meantime, however, no worthwhile thoughts about ObamaCare, pro or con, are to be heard from people who count a program as a success just because Americans enjoy receiving benefits at the expense of other Americans.



When Will They Ever Learn? When Will They learn? by The Elephant's Child
June 24, 2015, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Basic Economics. Connecticut is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to business taxes. The state is now looking at another round of business tax hikes. With their latest budget, the Connecticut legislature has now increased business taxes five times since 2011, forcing companies located in the state to pay the fifth highest tax rate in the nation.

With the latest increase, accountants will be working overtime to deal with the new budget that includes nearly $2 billion in tax increases, including a $700 million increase in business taxes.

Bright politicians know an opportunity when they see one. Governors Mike Pence of Indiana and Greg Abbott of Texas pay attention. Republicans both, the governors have written to the corporate leadership of GE, Aetna, and Travelers, inviting them to tour their states and investigate the tax advantages that Connecticut can no longer provide.

Bloomberg reported that Abbott’s letter boasted of a $3.8 billion tax-cutting package approved by the Texas legislature in May that included a 25 percent cut in the business franchise tax. That alone would save companies in Texas a total of $2,5 billion in the next ten years.

Pence wrote that “Businesses in Indiana grow with confidence, while businesses in high-tax states like Connecticut operate in fear of seeing their piggy banks raided,” wrote Pence. “On behalf of 6.7 million hardworking Hoosiers, we are constantly meeting with companies around the world that are choosing Indiana and enjoying an instant spike in earnings. With Connecticut taxes skyrocketing, it’s important to remind businesses that Indiana is here to help as a state that works.

Fifty percent of Connecticut residents in a poll over the last year said they would leave the state if they could, but they can’t sell their houses because nobody wants to move in because of taxes.

Legislative leaders Sharkey, Looney and Duff ( sorry, I couldn’t resist) Senate President is Martin M. Looney, Majority Leader Robert Duff and Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, were all pleased with their budget which contains major property tax relief and long term investments in transportation. “A brighter tomorrow will start with this budget today” said Gov. Malloy.

Texas and Indiana are standouts in the nation for their low taxes and successful economies. We’ll see how many Connecticut businesses decide to relocate..



There’s a Time for Politics, and There’s a Time to Just Shut up. by The Elephant's Child

America is shocked and horrified at the massacre in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. People reacted with sorrow and shame that such a thing should happen at a peaceful prayer meeting.

It’s hard to find the right words to express sorrow and offer comfort for there is no comfort. Republican candidates on the campaign trail quickly cancelled their scheduled events, Senator Lindsey Graham flew back to South Carolina.

President Barack Obama quickly politicized the event. “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said, adding “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Um, tell that to Charlie Hebdo. Or perhaps the 2011 massacre at a summer camp for the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party. Anders Brevik massacred 69 young people. Just before that he had packed  a van with an explosive mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil. The explosion killed eight people. Germany has had more attacks on schools than we have. But don’t miss a chance to make a political point.

Hillary also called for gun control, while heading for a bunch of fundraisers. Obama, having made his point, headed out to California  for a $16,700 per person fundraiser in Pacific Palisades. Later he has another one in Beverly Hills. On Friday he has an interview with Marc Maron, then flies up to San Francisco for the U.S. Conference of Mayors followed by another couple of fundraisers. Obama frequently tells us how important empathy is to him.



Hillary’s Second Stab at Getting Her Campaign Off on the Right Note! by The Elephant's Child

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If you are a Democrat, you are expected to be aroused by income inequality, social justice, a deep envy of the rich, and believe that being required to show photo identification in order to vote, as you do to get on an airplane, cash a check, enter the Justice Department building or hundreds of other places that want you to prove that you are who you say you are, is somehow deeply unfair. And in this age of ISIS and cyber war, envy is the most important thing on the menu.

Republicans, on the other hand, are mean, want to unlawfully enrich the wealthy, especially if they are CEOs of corporations, and don’t care about the poor, the middle class, or especially women. Hillary, in view of the revelations of Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash, you might want to forgo trying to blame the Republicans for enriching the wealthy.

Hillary had the second introduction of her campaign this weekend at New York City’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. She suggested that she would fight “four fights” for the American people, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the Four Freedoms. I’m really sick of politicians claiming they are going to fight for me — they know it’s hooey, I know it’s hooey. Hillary is going to fight to make the economy work for “everyday” Americans, strengthen families, maintain our leadership for peace security and prosperity and fight to reform our government and revitalize our democracy. Uh huh. I doubt that many have any idea what the “four freedoms” are, nor really know who FDR was. A baby born the year FDR died would be 70 this year. But perhaps that doesn’t seem so long ago to Hillary.

Hillary likes to think of herself as “a fighter.” She apparently wants to fight for even bigger and more authoritative government because she wants to tell American companies how they are to run their businesses and how much they are to pay their workers and what benefits they are to offer. That doesn’t sound like America or free markets  to me.

It was really kind of an embarrassing speech, full of old, tired and phony Democrat talking points, light on awareness of the problems that face America today. She said silly things like ” Prosperity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers. Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations” Well, her son-in-law, Chelsea’s husband, is a hedge fund manager, and they just moved into a $10.3 million New York apartment.

Hillary claimed at least nine or ten times that Republicans cut taxes for the wealthy and left the Middle Class to suffer from the greed of the rich. Oh please. No Republican has ever proposed cutting taxes just for the wealthy. . But if you’re trying to redistribute the wealth, you can’t admit that.There was the bit about women earning less than men, (Equal Pay Act passed in 1963) But it remains a talking point for Democrats largely as a sop to trial lawyers, who love to get women to bring class-action claims. Hillary’s campaign workers are mostly unpaid “interns.”

No country is better prepared to meet emerging threats from cyber attacks (tell that to the OPM). She will support a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision, corporations can’t make unflattering movies about Hillary.  She will fight back against Republican efforts to disempower young people, poor people, people with disabilities and people of color.

Time magazine has a transcript, if you want to read what she said. I certainly didn’t want to hear her. But when you read the speech, the full splendor of the timeless words sinks in. She needs a new speechwriter rather badly.



Whoops! $2.2 billion high-tech solar project delivers only 40% of expected electricity by The Elephant's Child

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Environmentalists have long been sure that if we could just eliminate things that are not “natural” from our lives, live in harmony with nature, then the world would be a better place. Relying on the Sun and the Wind were right at the top of the list.  We should eliminate chemicals from our diet, stop cutting down trees, save endangered species but stop putting animals in cages, and just quit eating meat. The very word “natural” moved right to the top of the advertising buzz-word list.

So it is no surprise that in the panic about Global Warming, which was the next big thing after we stopped panicking about a new ice age in the 1970s, and the threat of a nuclear winter receded, we turned to trying to harness the power of the sun. Sensible people pointed out that the power of the sun was very diffuse, the sun had the habit of sinking below the horizon at night, and there was the problem of cloudy days and clouds on even nice days. But this is America, and the Twenty-First Century, as we are so frequently reminded, and we have technology!

The 2.2 billion Ivanpah solar project in California’s Mojave Desert is definitely high-tech. Those tiny white rectangles in the picture above are more than 170,000 mirrors, each about the size of a garage door, that rotate to follow the path of the sun across the sky. Solar-thermal technology was meant to supersede old-fashioned solar panel farms. The mirrors would reflect the sunlight to the huge “power towers,” enormous pillars to create steam which would generate electricity.

The facility was built by Bright Source Energy Inc, and operated by NRG Energy Inc. NRG owns the facility along with Bright Source, Google and other investors. Last time I wrote about Ivanpah in November, they were trying to get a federal grant to pay off their $1.6 billion federal loan.

The $2.2 billion project is supposed to be generating more than a million megawatt hours of electricity, but 15 months after starting up, the plant is producing just 40% of that, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Why, with new technology, there is a lot more that can go wrong. There’s a lot more on-the-job-learning. The power plant needs a lot more steam to run smoothly and efficiently. They thought they could ramp up the plant before sunrise with fossil fuels to get it humming, but it needs four times as much fossil fuel help to get going.

And despite being in one of the hottest places in the U.S. — not enough sun. Weather predictions underestimated the amount of cloud cover. Then there were millions in cost overruns because of wildlife protections for the ‘endangered’ Desert Tortoise. The birds are not so lucky. Government biologists estimate that  3,500 birds died at Ivanpah in the course of a year. The songbirds go up in a puff of smoke as they chase the bugs that are drawn to the bright light. Raptors chase the songbirds, and die instantly. I wonder if the big corpses break the mirrors when they fall?

New solar farms generate electricity at about 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. Ivanpah is running between 12 and 25 cents a kilowatt-hour. Plans for solar-thermal plants elsewhere are being canceled. American Solar farms generate nearly 16 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. That amounts to less than 1% of U.S. electricity demand. Utilities are likely to opt for cheaper solar farms that use panels. The Sierra Club continues its disgraceful “War on Coal.” And the EPA continues its efforts to shut down America’s coal-fired power plants that produce nearly 40 percent of America’s electricity, under the illusion that removing whatever carbon dioxide they produce will have a measurable effect on climate change. It won’t. And we will pay a high price for that loss of energy.




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