American Elephants


Democrats’ Best Laid Plans Often Go Astray by The Elephant's Child

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Things are getting a little strange out there. The big deal today was to be the forces of good (Antifa) battling against the forces of evil (the Alt-Right better known as White Supremacy) in a dramatic confrontation. All fine, except that the Alt-Right could only come up with 24 White Supremacists and the whole thing was more or less a flop. The problem, of course, is that Conservatives are not White Supremacists, and the urgent wish of the Left to make those on the Right into racists (which they are not) just doesn’t work.

Abraham Lincoln, who was the first Republican president, freed the slaves, won the Civil War. The Southern Democrats, the party who imported slaves, established slavery as a way of life, to work Southern plantations, and intended to establish slavery throughout  America. Democrats have been trying to live down their connection to the Confederacy ever since, and the latest iteration is the attempt to turn Republicans into White Supremacists and Racists, with no basis in fact. They were sure that electing the first African–American President,  absolved them from any claims of racism.

CNN, stung by President Trump’s calling them “the enemy of the people,” and talking constantly about “fake news”roused up the far-left Boston Globe which in turn, has signed on some 128 establishment news outlets for a coordinated editorial attack against President Trump, scheduled for August 16. Which is the day after the 73rd Anniversary of VJ Day, and the end of World War II. The theory is that on August 16, some 128 strongly worded op-eds will run to attempt to convince readers into believing that criticism of the media is “unacceptable” and should not be allowed.

There’s a small problem though. Record numbers of Americans consider the news media to be “immoral,” “inaccurate,” and “biased”, according to Pew Research. A plurality of Americans, 42 percent, said that the press was “immoral”, 32 percent thought reporters were “not professional” and 31 percent thought they “don’t care about how good a job they do”. A record high of 63 percent thought reporters were “politically biased in their reporting.”

According to the Harvard Harris poll, 65 percent of voters believe there is  a lot of fake news in the mainstream media. That number includes 80% Republicans, 60% Independents and 53 % Democrats. Eighty-four percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

The American public’s trust in the media in 2016 has fallen to its lowest point since at least 1972, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday. Only 32 percent of Republicans had confidence in the media in 2015, and whose confidence dropped to 14 percent in 2016. Gallup began asking respondents whether they had trust and confidence in the media in 1972. The drop in media trust and confidence was also apparent among both young and old respondents, according to the study. 2016 is the first time in 15 years that confidence in the media among Americans 50 and older fell below 40 percent. Perhaps they might want to postpone their editorial attack on Trump until a point when somebody out there actually believes in the mainstream media.

The New York Times, desperately seeking dirt on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, did a FOIA request for the emails of Brett Kavanaugh’s wife, who is a city official in a Washington suburb, and finding nothing that could create any embarrassment shrugged and said, “We had to try.” (His wife? why?)

Now the folks at Pro-Publica, an explicitly leftist media outlet are asking people to scour their smart phone pictures in case any one caught Brett Kavanaugh at a Washington Nationals baseball game sitting with Lee Harvey Oswald or someone else disreputable.

Shocking. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in debt, buying tickets to Washington Nationals baseball games. Kavanaugh would go to games with a “handful” of friends who reimbursed him for the ticket, and the debts have been paid off. Who did Kavanaugh buy tickets for? How did they reimburse him? Was this properly disclosed? And how was all of this treated for tax purposes? Pro-Publica wants pictures to see who he was sitting with.

There has never been an American President who has been attacked so steadily and so viciously from the moment of his inauguration until today. The press has mostly not managed to cover events and accomplishments  truthfully and without prejudice. Some 128 snarky editorials on Thursday is probably not going to change the minds of Americans.

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Smoky Air Today: Here’s Why: by The Elephant's Child

If you looked out the window today, you may nave noticed a tinge of smoke in the air. Sure sign of forest fires. This particular map did not include Canada, which also has forest fires, and the smoke, depending on the winds, is apt to affect us. Some rain expected later in the week, which might clear things up.

The so-called “environmentalists” have worked hard to prevent trees from being harvested for lumber. They do not want trees to be cut. But that has consequences as well. Logging roads do not get built into the timber so access to fight fire is more difficult so more territory burns. That dreadful Carr fire in California has burned over 90,000 acres and 6 people have died. It is only 20 percent contained, family homes burned.

Some expert mentioned that there are no “starter homes” being built any more. The cost of lumber has gone up dramatically because less lumber is being harvested.  I posted a story about 3-D printed houses in the Netherlands.

The Left envisions very dense American cities with everyone in high rise apartments (except for the important people, of course) They will have their estates, of course, but with the hoi-polloi  all in high rises, the rest of the country can all be parkland. Government owned, of course. Yet the federal government is having a hard time keeping up the national parks. My point is simply that there are always consequences. Studying up and doing our homework is a lifelong requirement. Sometimes we can prevent the consequences from overwhelming us.



Unfortunately There Is No Law That Prevents Cities From Being Stupid by The Elephant's Child

“Climate Alarmists” (the term for mostly Democrats who can’t be bothered to read the science and are sure the Earth is in it’s last days because of global warming) new thing has been to sue the hated fossil fuel companies (big and rich) to help to pay the city’s alleged costs of dealing with climate change. So far they are 2-0. You can easily guess the two cities involved — San Francisco and New York City. In June, Judge William H. Alsup for the Federal District Court in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, filed by San Francisco and Oakland.

Now Federal Judge John F. Keenan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed New York City”s lawsuit against the same five major oil companies intended to force them to help pay the city’s alleged costs of dealing with climate change. In his 23-page decision Judge Keenan wrote that climate change must be addressed by the executive branch and Congress, not by the courts.

Although climate change “is a fact of life,” Keenan wrote, “the serious problems caused thereby are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government.”

Keenan ruled New York’s state and federal common law claims were disallowed under the Clean Air Act, saying it would be “illogical” and violate U.S. Supreme Court precedents to allow the claims under state common law “when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the executive branch as they require a uniform, national solution … [and] the Clean Air Act displaces the City’s claims seeking damages for past and future domestic greenhouse gas emissions brought under federal common law.”

In addition, Keenan determined NYC’s lawsuit was unjustified because the city itself contributed carbon dioxide emissions and benefited from fossil fuel use.

Despite two courts saying clearly that climate policy is soley the business of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, New York City and Oakland and San Francisco say they plan to appeal thier cases’ dismissals. A day after Keenan’s dismissal, Baltimore sued oil companies for climate change in Maryland state court and Rhode Island sued in state court to recover the cost of climate change. This is, of course just a case of an attempted shakedown of companies assumed to have deep pockets. Cities don’t mind frittering away taxpayers money — there’s always more where that came from, they can raise money taxing drinking straws and save the sea life as well.

I don’t know what these cities consider the “costs” of global warming. Perhaps it’s banning plastic bags at the grocery store, or paying for electricity from wind turbines and buying solar panels to put on city buildings? But they should be charged for wasting taxpayer money on “renewable energy” that costs more than fossil fuel energy, and provides less energy. Solar energy and wind turbines are causing “energy poverty” in Germany and other European countries. There is no law against governments at any level being stupid. You have to vote them out. It is Your Responsibility.



Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, True Believer, Truly Scary. by The Elephant's Child

DNC Chairman Tom Perez suggests that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez is the exciting new face of the Democrat Party. Her mother said she’s really excited about running and wants to be President some day. She is indeed, the poster-child for the failure of American Universities. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a BA in economics and international relations. She was 4th in her class, but seems not to have learned any economics whatsoever. But she is a member of the Democratic Socialist Party and was an organizer for Bernie Sanders.

Reading up a little on her, it would be a mistake to fail to take her seriously. She has been a political activist, and had a lot of support from Hispanic organizations. She lied about being from the Bronx which she left at age 5 for a wealthier enclave. Her father was an architect, but he died intestate from lung cancer. She worked two jobs, as a waitress and a bartender, which shows determination and hard work.

She said attending the Standing Rock Sioux protests about the pipeline running near their reservation was a defining moment for her. The tribe was ostensibly afraid the pipeline would contaminate their water supply (highly unlikely). The pipeline did not cross reservation land, nor affect any reservation property, but they worked with Earthjustice against fossil fuels and loved the national attention. The final bill for their protests came to about $43 million. And the debris and mess left by the protesters took up over 20 dumpster loads. I wrote about that protest several times.

Ocasia-Cortez supports progressive policies like Medicare for All, a job guarantee, tuition-free universities and public schools, and said that “for the cost of the GOP’s tax bill, we could forgive ALL the student loan debt in the United States. She favors single-payer healthcare as “a human right.” She says a single government insurer should ensure that every American has insurance—while reducing costs overall. Uh huh. Of course she wants to abolish ICE, calling it “a product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation enforcement that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.Just two days before the primary election, she attended a protest at an ICE child detention center in Tomillo, Texas, and supports a “path to citizenship” for all immigrants who entered the United States. She told CNN that she would support the impeachment of President Trump, saying that “I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it, citing Trump’s violations of the Emoluments Clause.

Other than that she is a self-described hardliner on climate issues, and wants us to transition by 2015 to an electrical grid running on 100% renewable energy production and end the use of fossil fuels. She also calls for a “Green New Deal” in the U.S.

Sigh. I was an English major, but I did learn that the federal government has no money of its own. And if you stack all of our billionaires together, they still don’t have enough money to abolish our taxes and give us all that free stuff. 4th in her class! And she favors guaranteed jobs, that is— federally subsidized jobs, a truly interesting proposal. Good grief, the federal government can’t even do job training.  See James Pethokoukis writing at AEI.

She is out there campaigning hard and promising all sorts of free stuff for the American people, and if everyone has a job and is forced to work, well then, there you are.



The Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, and the Consequences by The Elephant's Child

A day of confusion and consternation, centered around trying to find out just what has transpired. When I got up, admittedly late, the American media was in hysterics trying to find out exactly to what extent President Trump had sold his country down the proverbial river, to the Russians. Shameless, Traitorous, etc. etc. etc.

Apparently President Trump was supposed to have grasped President Putin by the lapels, and told him sternly never, never to interfere in an American election again, and having failed to do so—he was a traitor of such tremendous consequence that our country might never recover. That seemed somewhat unlikely, but trying to find out what actually happened and what all the fuss is about has not been easy.

Nobody knows what was said in the meeting between the two of them. The big deal is the press conference. Of course. For truth and insight one turns to the mainstream media. What got the media all excited was the Mueller team’s announcement that they were indicting a bunch of Russians for interfering, hacking, or perhaps something more nefarious. After a lot of useless reading, I turned to the Manhattan Contrarian  who explained the whole indicting Russians things clearly. There is very little of solid substance and a large amount of attack Trump just before he heads to Helsinki. It’s the same old “spear-phishing” of DNC servers and the Podesta computers. No American is included, no connection to Trump or his campaign. The hacked information is the documents showing the Hillary campaign manipulated to Democratic party nominating process to the disadvantage of Bernie Sanders.  We already knew that. The Contrarian adds:

Meanwhile, Trump is off trying to conduct the foreign policy of the United States, including with Putin and Russia, with this group of people who supposedly work for him actually trying to undermine him at every turn.

Clearly it was necessary to find the transcript of the press conference and read the whole thing. Better to read what was said than to watch the YouTube version, if you want to know what was actually said rather than try to figure out the body language. All sorts of accusations of treason, many Republicans disapproving. Trump was not strong enough for America. Trump was trying to improve relations with Russia, to see if we could get some things done. He wasn’t trying to attack Putin for misbehavior. We have interfered in elections in other countries, we spy and try to find out that which might be a problem for us, as do most other countries. Obama’s interference in the last Israeli election was widely reported.

Was anything accomplished between the two presidents? They got to size each other up in person, rather than just from news reports. Will anything positive result from their meeting? Dunno.

—Here’s Investor’s Business Daily: “Left’s Claims of ‘Treason’ On Trump-Putin Talks Smack of Dangerous Political Hysteria”

—John Hinderaker at Powerline:”For Trump, The Political Is Personal”

—Roger Kimball at American Greatness: “What Critics Missed About the Trump-Putin Summit”

—David P. Goldman (Spengler) at PJ Media: ” Once Again, President Trump Is Magnificently Right—This Time About Putin”

These are among the few comments I found particularly interesting. If you want the press in full bray, it’s easy to find.



Jordan Peterson Asks A Serious Question, Stumps Maher’s Panel by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson appeared on a panel on Bill Maher’s show. The panel did not distinguish themselves, unable to respond, even at a childish level, to a serious question. Maher is supposedly a comedian, but comedians are supposed to be funny. Dr. Peterson is absolutely correct. Democrats’ obnoxious behavior is driving the country apart. Maher’s characterizations of President Trump are not snarky, but wildly absurd, crude, ill-informed, and meant to draw a laugh from the “can you top this” insult crowd.

The panel consists of a journalist from the New York Times, an unidentified woman, Michael Avenatti, whose claim to fame is being Stormy Daniels lawyer, and who has offered to run for the presidency against Donald Trump, and (sigh) Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who wants desperately to be president (in spite of being the worst governor in memory) striving to show off his admirable qualifications to Democrats.

Inslee thinks Net Neutrality is about denying people access to the internet, is sure that the earth must be saved from the ravages of global warming with his cherished carbon tax, and is big on forcing employers to give their employees family leave whenever they want it. Washington State is following other Leftist-run states in increasing numbers of people and businesses fleeing the state. Fortunately the legislature managed to kill the head tax on employees idea for business, after they heard from Amazon and Microsoft.

The interesting thing is that no member of the panel manages to even attempt to answer Dr. Peterson’s serious question, and it’s fairly clear that they don’t even understand what he is asking. I am always struck by Maher’s resemblance to a Blob Fish. (Look it up)



More Bad Publicity for Seattle and Portland, Well Deserved. by The Elephant's Child

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The beautiful and quiet forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest won’t protect us anymore. We’re getting national publicity, all of it bad. In this case, it is the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal ‘sLeft Coast Lawlessness: Progressivism is wrecking cities in the Pacific Northwest.” Unfortunately, it’s true. (Do read the whole thing)

The anarchy and disorder dominating progressive cities across the West Coast recently hit a new low in Seattle. King County officials are looking to roll out a “safe injection van,” a legal venue at which addicts could shoot up illegal drugs unhindered and “safely.” The first of its kind in the United States, the van would manage to undermine further the rule of law while also doing little to help addicts. Seattle’s urban decay goes deeper, though, with skyrocketing rates of homelessness, an explosion in opioid usage and deaths, and spikes in violent crime.

Portland doesn’t fare any better, and only today the news reported that police were trying to put down a riot when protesters resisted being removed from camping out around ICE headquarters there for days.

Both cities have big problems with “homelessness,” though the problem is perhaps that the problem in most cases is not the lack of a home. We have an huge increase in opioid use, and deaths, and the spikes in violent crime that go along with the other problems. City planners are industriously trying to build low-income housing in the useless assumption that will solve the problem. Concurrently they are establishing “safe injection sites” and apparently that is not working as promised, so they are rolling out the “safe injection vans.” Supposedly there is a nurse or other medical professional to make sure that they don’t overdose. And if they are nice enough to the addicts, maybe they will accept treatment.

Headline on Fox News: “Seattle cops flee the force in ‘mass exodus’ due to frustrations with the city’s politics, report says.” At least 41 cops have left the Seattle Police Department this year, many of them reportedly citing frustration with the city’s politics and a perceived lack of support from local officials. Some were retirements, but at least 20 have left to find employment at other law enforcement agencies. The frustration over city politics is higher than usual. Kshama Sawant, a very radical city council member, was particularly cited as being especially critical of law enforcement. “A city council member [Sawant] can call two police officers ‘murderers’ and the city pays for her legal fees,” a source said. The Seattle Police Guild said officers have not received a pay raise in three years due to contract negotiations. but said that officers didn’t leave because of money issues —they were just fed up with the politics.

The Seattle Police Department said it would not characterize the departures as a “mass exodus” and noted primly that the department was continuing to recruit officers, including women and minorities.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released a statement about the importance of public safety and keeping families safe, etc. etc. etc.

The mountains and forests remain beautiful, wildflowers and waterfalls. It’s just the cities that are haywire.

ADDENDUM:  How come they never, never understand that making things nice for addicts will just attract more addicts?When you create a sanctuary city, it does not just protect your current illegals, but invites more to come. When parents complained about the behavior of their kids, the remedy turned out to be what they called “tough love.”




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