American Elephants

Bipartisanship! Whatever it is, Obama Plans to Veto It. by The Elephant's Child

Obama walking

President Congeniality has issued new signs of the bipartisanship we can expect with the new Republican led Congress. “We’re calling on the president to ignore the voices of reaction and join us,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said as he and Speaker John Boehner lined up legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and the 20,000 jobs it would bring, make small changes to the health care law they have sworn to repeal, and to delay a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. President Obama threatened to veto them all.

He did stress the opportunity for bipartisanship in the two years ahead, but he didn’t mean it. He meant that Republicans should shut-up and endorse everything he wants to do. Simple.

The public, for the first time, has said that the biggest problem in America is the federal government. The first time ever in Gallup records that dissatisfaction with the government has topped the list of what ticks them off.

Just to emphasize who is boss, the Obama administration has published 300 new regulations in the first seven days of 2015. Federal agencies have published 300 final rules, proposals for new rules and regulatory notices as a 2015 gift to us all.

Rules having to do with energy, environment, public lands and agriculture make up the largest share of new regulations. Included in these new rules are proposed EPA air quality standards for lead, reforming coal and oil leases on Indian lands and adjustments for the total amount of fish people can catch off Alaska’s coast.

One major rule that has not been finalized yet, however, is the EPA’s carbon dioxide emissions limits for new power plants. The rule was set to be finalized by Thursday, but the agency announced Wednesday it would be pushed back until mid-summer 2015.

The EPA is scrambling to protect its carbon rule for new power plants as lawmakers and watchdog groups find problems with EPA reasoning and EPA science. They are desperate to get more of your lives under control in order to save the Earth from non-existent global warming  (18 years and 3 months of no warming at all), and the “polar vortexes” sweep down from the “melting”Arctic. There is no carbon pollution. Carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer for the world’s plants, and they need more carbon to feed the world.

I wrote a week ago about how John Boehner outfoxed Obama in the 2012 budget negotiations, and made the federal deficit decline for the first time since the cutbacks just after World War II. The sequester  has decreased total federal spending by 1.5%-2.0% in real inflation-adjusted dollars, and it will do that in the 2014 budget as well. In a recent NPR interview, Obama took credit for reducing the deficit. Predictable. President Congeniality is never, never at fault.

Americans Are Fed Up. The Problem is The Government! by The Elephant's Child

From Investors Business Daily:obama-angry-8-560x350

A new Gallup poll finds that Americans are fed up with ever-encroaching, corrupt and incompetent government, as represented by ObamaCare and other federal policies.

For the first time since Gallup has conducted polling, people say that the “biggest problem” in America is “the government.” It topped all other categories, including terrorism. “2014 was the first year ever in Gallup records that dissatisfaction with government topped the list,” the 80-year-old firm said. “Government includes dissatisfaction with President Obama.”

And angst over government has been climbing each year since 2009, when Obama took office, breaking a long period of relative satisfaction with government.

Americans aren’t buying what the administration is selling. They believe that government should play a small role in the lives of American citizens. They want to run their own lives, thank you very much. They are simply not convinced that the federal government can do anything very well, and does most things badly. Obama has nattered on about preserving our freedom and our happiness, but Americans would rather do it themselves.

We are entering an unusually dangerous period. The administration has believed that the U.S. national security presence in the world — the American military —has been too large and is determined to reduce that presence. Mr. Obama delivered this statement recently on NPR:

“When it comes to ISIL, us devoting another trillion dollars after having been involved in big occupations of countries that didn’t turn out all that well” is something he is hesitant to do.

Instead, he said, “We need to spend a trillion dollars rebuilding our schools, our roads, our basic science and research here in the United States; that is going to be a recipe for our long-term security and success.”

What on earth does he mean by that straw man argument? Is it just the usual roads and bridges he pulls out whenever he is being criticized? A trillion dollars for precisely what? And how does that protect us from an Iranian nuclear device or a loss of Iraq and Afghanistan to the terrorists emboldened by his disinterest. The success of ISIS has emboldened other terrorist groups. Yemen, Libya, Nigeria. How soon with the Taliban move to retake Kandahar now that the “combat mission” is ended. Ukraine? Russia ? Latvia is moving heavy armor up to their border.

A recent  Pew Survey found that:

The international survey found that the U.S. leads the world in the belief that you determine your fate. It found that Americans are the “least likely to say they are not the masters of their fate” and the most likely to say that their fate is in their own hands.

“The percentage of Americans who say hard work is very important to getting ahead in life is among the highest across all 44 countries,” Pew said. This is the opposite of Obama’s worldview.

Obama is arrogant and belligerent. He will veto any Keystone bill or anything else that does not conform to his worldview. And if he is not sent bills of which he approves, he will take action on his own. So there you are.

Bewilderment And Anger From The Left! What Went Wrong? by The Elephant's Child

Conservatives everywhere constantly wonder what is the matter with the left, and try to find a satisfactory answer. We just had what can fairly be called a “wave” election.  Republicans will control the House of Representatives by 247 to 188 Democrats. They will control the Senate, by 54 to 44 with 2 independents. The GOP controls the governorship and the legislature in 23 states compared to 7 states for the Democrats. Legislative power has slipped from the hands of the American left.

“Never have liberal ideas been so firmly entrenched within America’s core elite institutions. Never have those institutions been so weak and uninfluential,” said Walter Russell Mead. Democrats were sure that the policies they believed were good government would assure eternal liberal success, instead they turned out to be political poison.

Eric Alterman, a reliable man of the Left, writing in the Nation, cited two core reasons for the disaster — ObamaCare and immigration amnesty.

The Affordable Care Act and the executive order expanding the rights of undocumented immigrants were certainly the right thing to do from the perspective of Democratic values, but both are politically poisonous at present. Obamacare undermines a key Democratic constituency badly in need of help: labor unions. The immigration order fires up anti-immigrant passion among working-class voters while benefiting an ethnic group—Latinos—whose voter-participation levels remain anemic, even allowing for the restrictive election laws passed by Republicans. 

Back to Walter Russell Mead:

Modern American liberalism does its best to suppress dissent and critique (except from the left) at the institutions and milieus that it controls. Dissent is not only misguided; it is morally wrong. Bad thoughts create bad actions, and so the heretics must be silenced or expelled. “Hurtful” speech is not allowed, and so the eccentricities of conventional liberal piety pile up into ever more improbable, ever more unsustainable forms.

This is a pretty heady admission from a man of the Left., and he goes even further.  He admits that liberals “live in liberal cocoons, read cocooning news sources, and work in professions and milieus where liberal ideas are as prevalent and as uncontroversial as oxygen.”

What liberals have lost is any connection to common sense. They don’t have any.  So cocooned that they have no idea what Republicans think or stand for. There is no anti-immigrant passion on the right. It isn’t about immigrants, who are welcomed; it is about the “undocumented” part. We have immigration laws and expect them to be obeyed.

The Affordable Care Act was a complete fraud from the beginning. Useless benefits were piled at the front end to get people signed up for bad insurance, and then paid for by cutting payment to physicians and hospitals so much that no one could find care, and the “insurance” became clearly unaffordable. The solution to that would be to nationalize all doctors and hospitals, and turn it into a single-payer plan of the kind that everyone else in the world is trying to get out of because it doesn’t work, and kills off its participants.

Other than that, in his criticism of the liberal project, Alterman mentions that Republicans are anti-immigrant; restrict voting rights; are fanatics; their views of science, economics and pretty much anything else are crazy; are only the party of “Hell No!”; against policies that would help the poor such as Medicaid, and Democrats are barely less dependent on big-money donors than Republicans. Whew! Wrong on every point — and embarrassingly so, proving the “cocoon.” Falling in love with an idea rather than the reality is typical of the Left. A patient is unfortunately better off with no insurance than with Medicaid.

And the “party of the rich” is not Republicans. Democrats took in 71% of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors. Among group donations of more than $100,000, the GOP doesn’t even appear on the list until #14. The National Education Association topped the list at $22 million. The much reviled Koch brothers (who are not even Republicans but Libertarians), came in at 23rd. Global warming activist Tom Steyer blew at least $74 million on the midterms. And that’s not even mentioning George Soros’ secretive Democracy Alliance.

Mead says: “In that sense the Obama administration may represent “Peak Left” in American politics, and what we are getting from the left these days is a mix of bewilderment and anger as it realizes that this is as good as it gets.”

A Steady Decrease In Numbers of People Who Have Interactions With Police by The Elephant's Child


In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The law mandated that the attorney general begin studying the excessive use of force by police, and reporting on their findings. The Bureau of Justice Statistics developed a series of ongoing statistics that measured police behavior in specific situations and incidents in which police use force—like riots and mob behavior. Much of the data was based on direct surveys of citizens rather than reports by local police departments. These surveys and statistics have provided two decades of information on how the police interact with American citizens and how American citizens interact with police.

If it was presumed that the statistics would provide insight for national debates about the use of force by police, the presumption was apparently wrong. When the grand jury reached its decision not to indict police officer Darrell Wilson, the President of the United States jumped into the Missouri debate and told the nation that “the law too often feels like it’s being applied in a discriminatory fashion.”

The New York Times published stories about communities where minorities get stopped more frequently than whites, completely ignoring the statistics from the Bureau of Justice that show that crime victims identify minorities as more frequent perpetrators of crime. There has also been a steady decrease in numbers of people who have interactions with the police. There has been a drop in crime as well. The numbers of people who report crimes to the police  has fallen from 664,000 in 2002 to 574,000 in a 2010 report. The number of African-Americans who reported that police had used force against them fell from 173,000 to 130,000, for whites the number dropped from 374,000 to 347,000. The situations which caused the use of force were not listed.

President Obama helpfully added to the debate, saying that “bad training” and “a fear of folks who look different” in some police departments has contributed to the  ongoing mistrust between law enforcement and minority communities. He claimed that “this is a national problem that’s going to require a national solution.”

The president has announced a new task force on policing that will examine “how to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust” according to the White House. A task force focused on police behavior is really not what is called for.

Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths are human tragedies, but they are not emblematic of police overreach or abuse. Grand juries, in both cases examined all the evidence and declined to bring charges against the police. Young black men are far more likely to be shot by one another than by a police officer. Jason Riley adds:

There were about 6,300 black homicides in the U.S. last year, according to the FBI, and 85% involved black civilian perpetrators. Police officers, by contrast, were responsible for 3% of deaths, which in most cases resulted from the victim assaulting the officer (Brown) or resisting arrest (Garner). Nor do the data suggest that trigger-happy officers are gunning down black men for minor offenses.

Street protests continue, egged on by professional protesters, and universities like Columbia and Harvard which have encouraged students to work through their trauma from the two cases and postpone exams if they were too upset. Professional  protesters, anarchists, socialist activists and a lot of useful idiots from assorted colleges. The more dramatic protests are in all the usual cities, and “Die-Ins” seem to be the preferred mode. Kind of embarrassing.

Deep Down The Public Wants Big Government by The Elephant's Child

Schumer 3

Senator Charles Schumer spoke to the National Press Club a couple of days ago, and told the media that despite devastating midterm losses, the public deep down knows that big government is best for them. Do you hear echoes of Jonathan Gruber’s insistence that the public is terminally stupid? Schumer said:

When government failed to deliver on a string of noneconomic issues, the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges, the mishandling of the surge in border crossers, ineptitude at the V.A., initial handling of the Ebola threat, people lost faith in government’s ability to work, then blamed the incumbent governing party, Democrats, creating a Republican wave.

He doesn’t want the numbers from this election to fool you — “Americans believe in big government through and through.”Uh huh.

You have to understand that Mr. Schumer went directly from Harvard Law to the New York State Assembly, becoming at age 23 the youngest member of the New York legislature since Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Schumer has never done anything else but politics, and he’s good at it. He has never lost an election. Bob Dole once quipped “The most dangerous place in Washington is between Senator Schumer and a television camera.”

Schumer added “Ultimately, the  public knows in its gut that a strong and active government is the only way to reverse the middle class decline and help revive the American dream.” Ah ha, he has noticed that the Democrat  party is losing the middle class.

The problem is only superficially the expanse of big government. The problem is that the Left firmly believes that if a government program doesn’t work — the remedy is to add another program to fix it. And so the body of law and regulation grows inexorably larger and more and more unwieldy. Laws are made and sent off to myriad government agencies who will write all the regulations that will expand and enforce the law.

Democrats have arrived at the position that more law is good and will control an unruly and poorly informed citizenry. The more people become dependent on government for their welfare, their housing, their food and education, the more apt they will be to vote for those who give them those benefits. And the more Democrats are able to control the population, the more the wise and caring people in government will be able to shape them into a better, more compliant population.  The Left has always had some vague Utopian ideas about a new and improved man. Besides the whole project allows them to feel good about doing nice things.

Republicans do believe in smaller, more responsive government. They believe that the best government is that which is closest to the people, and most responsive to their needs. You may not be able to fight city hall, but you will have better luck with that than in fighting the federal government.

That does not mean, however, that Republicans are much better at ending useless programs, getting rid of bad policy. The bureaucracy has grown too large and unwieldy. We are paying enormous salaries to bureaucrats that do no work at all. There are policies that do not work, have no prospect of ever working, but remain on the books.

Bureaucracy is the enemy of creativity, of accomplishment and innovation. The free market is the remedy which turns creativity loose and fosters innovation and a growing healthy economy.

Doing “Stuff” By Executive Order: As Much As He Can Get Away With! by The Elephant's Child


The repudiation at the polls didn’t apply to Obama, you see. He’s the only one elected by all the people, so this mid-term election doesn’t affect him at all. He simply regards it as an opportunity to do all the stuff he wants to do.

Obama has made a “deal” with China in which the United States will double the pace of its carbon-dioxide reductions after 2020, with a goal of an overall reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions of between 26% and 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. China will go on building coal-fired power plants at their current rate for 15 more years and then it will draw 20% of its power from “renewable sources.” This is supposed to be some kind of accomplishment?

Obama’s idea of international agreements seems to involve big American concessions in exchange for pretend compromises. That would be under the assumption that reducing “greenhouse-gas emissions” is a worthy goal. The past eighteen years of a total absence of global warming while CO² emissions have kept climbing would seem to indicate that the relationship is not what Mr. Obama assumes that it is.

Obama has spent six years celebrating and investing in “renewable energy” and it doesn’t work. When backed up 24/7 by conventional power plants, which is necessary, wind and solar produce some very expensive energy. Wind, by its very nature — even in very windy places —is intermittent. It does not blow steadily, but in gusts. A turbine needs a steady flow of wind to efficiently produce energy.  Every time the wind dies down, the power-plant has to produce the energy.  It doesn’t matter how high-tech the turbines get, or what elements of rare earths go into the construction, the problem is the wind itself.

Same thing goes for the sun. Although the wind may not die down at night, the sun does drop beneath the horizon. It’s called night. The sun is diffuse at best, and clouds interrupt the sunlight. In the world’s largest solar thermal array where five square miles of garage-door sized mirrors reflect sunlight on a central tower of tubes of water to produce steam to drive turbines — now finds NRG Energy, Google and Brightsource Energy having run through $1.6 billion worth of government guaranteed loans, having to pay back the government loan, and there hasn’t been enough sunshine. The electricity output is at least 40% below target, and they want taxpayers to bail them out. Google!

Now that we are enduring an arctic blast in many sections of the country with significant snow, Obama is ready to shut down the rest of the coal industry, sure that ending the emissions of CO2 from coal-fired power plants will stop the ceaseless increase in worldwide temperatures that is humanity’s direst threat. There has been no global warming whatsoever for 18 years and one month. There has been nothing in the warming and cooling of the climate, which always goes on, that has been out of the ordinary. All of the millions and billions spent on renewable energy have been just plain old waste.

Adding corn ethanol to our gasoline has devastated the food supply, raising the cost of food, while polluting more than gas without ethanol would. Farmers liked the requirement, for it got them more money for their corn crops, but the inflation in our grocery stores has been hard on a country where far too many are out of work and on food stamps.

Carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer, and the increased CO² has meant increases in forest growth and in vegetation. The forests are “greening.” Obama keeps talking about “carbon pollution” although there is no such thing.

Politico argues that “President Barack Obama is prepared to spend the remainder of his term unleashing sweeping executive actions to combat global warming.

The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time; a final rule Dec. 19 for clamping down on disposal of power plants’ toxic coal ash; the Jan. 1 start date for a long-debated rule prohibiting states from polluting the air of their downwind neighbors; and a Jan. 8 deadline for issuing a final rule restricting greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants. That last rule is a centerpiece of Obama’s most ambitious environmental effort, the big plan for combating climate change that he announced at Georgetown University in June 2013.

Well, Don Quixote Obama, banana republic dictator, embarked on a useless crusade to save the earth from non-existent warming.  Over the whole of the past century, the “global warming ” that so frightened the greenies amounted to about one degree. The panic existed only in the computer programs devised by scientists who were operating on grants and prestige generated solely by those very computer programs. Perhaps the problem was the programs — GIGO.

The EPA is another question. A rogue agency that acts on made-up statistics, has lost the science on which their policies depend, and works closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other radical green outfits.

American business groups are preparing to the extent they can for an onslaught of regulation, mostly from the EPA.  Good grief, even Dentists are bracing for new pollution rules. The EPA is targeting the excess mercury often used in dental fillings, and is seeking to have dentists filter out the substance when dumping into the water supply. The agency estimates the rules would cost the dental industry between $44 million and $49 million. The agency will claim that it is a danger to human health. The EPA is a danger to human health. The cost of going to the dentist will go up, more people will avoid treatment — probably a lot more harm than any excess mercury in unused dental amalgam. Tom Sowell pretty much nails it:

When Obama made a brief public statement about Americans being beheaded by terrorists, and then went on out to play golf, that was seen as a sign of political ineptness, rather than a stark revelation of what kind of man he is, underneath the smooth image and lofty rhetoric. …

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that every other country’s going to say okay.” …

In short, Americans are undeservedly prosperous and selfishly consuming a disproportionate share of “the world’s output” — at least in the vision of Barack Obama.

Tom Steyer Blew $74 Million On Fighting A Pipeline. by The Elephant's Child


Tom Steyer became a billionaire by investing in fossil fuels. Now he is betting against them, and blew at least $74 million trying to persuade the voters to oppose Republicans who disagree with him about the Keystone XL pipeline. He opposes the pipeline, he opposes oil sands from Alberta, and apparently would prefer to see Alberta’s oil sent to market by rail. Rail, of course, is far more dangerous and subject to oil spills than a pipeline — pipelines have an excellent safety record.

Well, proof, once again, that money doesn’t buy elections. Mr. Steyer and the teacher’s unions wasted far more money than most. Mr. Steyer gave most of his money to his NextGen Climate Action Super PAC. Environmental groups including NextGen spent $85 million to support President Obama’s agenda, especially the regulations for “bankrupting coal.” They are not taking the defeat well. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune  whined:

Despite the climate movement’s significant investments and an unprecedented get out the vote program, strong voices for climate action were defeated and candidates paid for by corporate interests and bolstered by sinister voter suppression tactics won the day.

Mitch McConnell made opposition to “the war on coal” the centerpiece of his campaign, and won what was supposed to be a close election by 15 points. Shelley Moore Capito’s support for coal made her the first female GOP Senator in 55 years from West Virginia.

Mr. Steyer and the greens made opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a litmus test of their support for Democrats, and Mr. Obama dutifully delayed approving the pipeline, despite multiple government reports showing no effect on the climate whatsoever from the pipeline.

In his statement to reporters following the election, Mr. Obama once again went off on “infrastructure and roads and bridges” suggesting that nasty Republicans wouldn’t support those opportunities for creating good jobs for unemployed Americans struggling to join the middle class. That has been Obama’s constant refrain repeated endlessly since 2009. Hello? An oil pipeline guaranteeing  something like 20,000 jobs IS infrastructure.

Republicans are promising to push pro-fossil-fuel  energy policy in Congress, including support for the Keystone XL,  fast-track approval for liquid natural-gas-export terminals, and reining in anti-coal regulations. Democrats might want to help create jobs, and perhaps save their own. Principle works better than falling all over yourself when a billionaire promises money.

If these environmental zealots would spend as much time studying up on the science of energy as they do on trying to buy politicians, they would save a fair amount of cash.


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