American Elephants


The Role of the Press Is Supposed to Be Reporting by The Elephant's Child

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Carly Fiorina, if you remember, did so well in the “undercard” debates that she moved up into the main debate — two debates ago — and she did well, though she remarked that people were just getting to know her, which was true. At that point, she ceased to exist. She appeared as an effective candidate, and I thought she seemed a potential Margaret Thatcher, and wanted to know more about her.

But she disappeared from public notice. She was busy campaigning, and appeared on some radio shows, notably Hugh Hewitt’s, but there was not a mention of her in the mainstream media. With no buzz about her candidacy, she became invisible. The media had apparently determined that since Hillary was running as “the first woman.” she did not need any female competition, particularly competition from someone so competent that she made Hillary look bad, and not only that, but who expressed her eagerness to debate Hillary.

That’s what the left-leaning press does. Invisible and with no mention in the press, interest waned, and it was back to the undercard debate. That’s the media exerting their influence over the outcome of an election. The Trump attention evolved into overkill, and people realized what was going on.

Hillary, they say, is the most qualified candidate in the campaign. Depends on what you mean by “qualified.” She has had a number of important titles, but a singular lack of specific accomplishment in any of the occupations. Her jobs have been a succession of scandals from Whitewater to Benghazi to jeopardizing national security and the lives of the people who make our nation secure — with an attempt to hide all of her correspondence from public view. Why? No one knows.



Is Income Inequality Really the Burning Issue of Our Times? by The Elephant's Child

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A constant theme for the Democratic presidential race has been income inequality. Democrats always want to increase envy in the minds of their loyalists, and what better way than to insist that America’s affluent got rich, unjustly, at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Envy and resentment stoke the fires of class warfare, and the Obama Administration’s lackluster economy and slow growth make people feel helpless and more inclined to blame others for their circumstances.

Liberals want to address income inequality by redistributing wealth from the well-to-do and giving it to the poor. It’s comforting to believe that the misfortunes of your life can be blamed on someone else. But natural demographic changes and lifetime income cycles distort the estimates of income inequality.

Young people just beginning a career not only don’t earn very much, but they want to get married and buy cars and houses and have babies. And they go into debt to do so. Their parents have been saving all of their lives, educating their children, and gradually building up some wealth. U.S Census data show a clear relationship between age and median net-worth in every quintile, Moreover, the death rate has fallen sharply — people are living longer, and there are more of them. Young people have less retirement savings, and the old folks have a far higher homeownership rate. Older workers have more skills built up over a lifetime, and are worth more to employers because they are more productive.

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Economist Thomas Sowell has explained:

Only by focusing on the income brackets, instead of the actual people moving between those brackets, have the intelligentsia been able to verbally create a “problem” for which a “solution” is necessary. They have created a powerful vision of “classes” with “disparities” and “inequities” in income, caused by “barriers” created by “society.” But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the “barriers” assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia.

The Left believes in government, not in the free market, which they don’t understand at all. The only way that government can create jobs is to hire more people — which they do regularly by creating more regulations and more agencies — all of which is paid for by the taxpayers, thereby reducing the wealth of the people and the economy. This is what they call progress.

Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns are based on finding ever more ways to redistribute wealth, taking more money from more productive people and giving it to the less productive.

Raising the minimum wage is one way. “No one can raise a family on the minimum wage” they say. No one is supposed to. Minimum wage jobs are meant to be jobs for first-time workers. How many people do you suppose are qualified to wipe off tables, sweep the floor and punch labeled keys on the cash register at a fast food restaurant? Conversely, how many people do you suppose are qualified to manage 20,000 employees in 20 separate divisions of a giant corporation in fierce competition with other giant corporations in the same business?

“But it isn’t fair!” is the cry. Your mother probably told you that life is not fair. She was right. The young person who graduates from college and graduate school with excellent grades and an advanced degree is going to have a different life than the young person who dropped out of high school without graduating, and has had trouble finding a steady job. That isn’t about fairness.

In actuality, the middle class is just fine, and still driving the economy. What is happening is more a result of how the researchers  divide up the quintiles into which they separate Americans. You have the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class, the upper middle class and the rich. Pew Research, for example, takes the median income in a given year, with half richer and half poorer. And how you define “middle income” can create all sorts of mischief and all sorts of interesting headlines.  Pew’s definition of “middle income” isn’t anchored to any fixed standard of living, but in fact represents a rising standard of living over time. And surprisingly, everybody is substantially better off than they were 45 years ago.

Poverty has decreased across the world, and in 2015, food prices are down by 19 percent in just the last year. Food is more abundant, probably due to  slight increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a natural fertilizer for plants which is greening the world.



Keeping Track of the Terrorists Is More Important than Keeping Track of the Guns. by The Elephant's Child

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After the attack in Paris, and before the attack in San Bernardino, Hillary Clinton offered up the Leftist Bluebook formula: “Let’s be clear: Islam in not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

A few days back, President Obama jetted to Paris spewing clouds of CO2 which he believes to be destroying the planet and uttered the undying words “a declaration that for all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. What should give us hope  that this is a turning point that this is the moment when we finally determined we could save our planet, is the fact that our nations share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it.”

The New York Times felt so strongly about “weapons of war” that they put their editorial right on the front page. “End the Gun Epidemic in America It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.” They should be embarrassed. They hauled out all their best adjectives and strong words — Moral outrage, national disgrace,  “America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing.” Barbara Boxer offered her testimony on the efficacy of California’s strong gun laws.

If the terrorist couple in San Bernardino had managed to get away, they had already produced an armory of 12 pipe bombs. They were made from Christmas tree lights, toy cars and other ingredients that anyone can buy anywhere. quite effective at killing and maiming. France has very strict gun laws, which essentially eliminate the possibility of guns in the hands of anyone but police. So does Britain, there even the police are unarmed. A young unarmed soldier was attacked and brutally killed on a public street with machetes.

The Times’ fatuous comment was — “at least they ‘re trying. The United States is not.” Pompous editorial, petty conclusions. A lot of killings have been prevented by civilians who are licensed to carry. The  rate of gun crime has been going down steadily since the mid 1990s. With Obama releasing big numbers of people sentenced for non-violent crimes, it may well start  back up again. There is a reason why the number of crimes has gone down, most likely, more people serving time for crime.

The Wall Street Journal summed it up nicely

President Obama entered the White House believing that the “war on terror” was a misguided overreaction driven by political fear, and his government even stopped using the term. Seven years later Mr. Obama is presiding over a global jihadist revival that now threatens the American homeland more than at any time since the attacks of September 11, 2001. …

The FBI director said more than once that the investigation is in the early stages, but he deserves support for speaking frankly about the evidence and dangers. Every instinct of this Administration, starting with the President, has been to minimize the terror risk on U.S. soil—perhaps because it contradicts Mr. Obama’s political belief that all we have to fear is fear of terrorism itself.



The Silly Season: Campaign Speeches and Promises. by The Elephant's Child

Hillary%20explains_HillaryExlainsDemocrats are a constant puzzlement to me. They march in lockstep, seldom disagree with one another, and operate on the same talking points, which is regularly proved when they all use the same words to describe their position on an issue. Do they fight quietly in the fabled back rooms, never allowing their disagreements to reach public attention? I’m beginning to suspect that their connection to real issues currently before the public — is a little scanty.

Republicans are always all over the map, squabbling about who is conservative and who is not conservative enough, who is a RHINO, and its hard to get agreement on any single issue. That is supposed to be a fault, but it is simply the voice of freedom, and the way things are supposed to be. We are humans with human failings.

Hillary Clinton spoke on Saturday at the “Blue Jamboree” in Charleston S.C.. She said if she is elected president, she can create enough green energy to power every home in America by the end of her second term.

By the end of my first term, we will have installed a half a billion more solar panels, and by the end of my second term, enough clean energy to power every home in America.

She said her plan to subsidize alternative sources of energy would not entail a middle class tax hike. In fact, she would reduce taxes for working class families. She’s going to be fighting for that.

She said her plan to reform health care would bring costs down without raising taxes. And accused Republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act as being driven by “political ideology” rather than a desire to “take care of people.” She would be willing to hold “senior level executives of companies accountable when they make decisions that cause the rest of the economy the troubles that we saw.”

Good Grief! The slightest familiarity with the news of the world would tell her that Spain and Germany started out years ago with just such exaggerated claims, and discovered, over time, that it didn’t work. The largest and most advanced $2.2 billion high-tech solar array in the Mojave Desert, Ivanpah,  is a colossal flop, producing only 40% of the promised electricity.

Solar energy produces a grand 0.3 or three-tenths of one percent of America’s electricity. If the governmental subsidies end, the solar arrays shut down, but Hillary is going to fix that and have everybody running on the vastly more expensive form of electricity from solar panels. Uh huh.  If that doesn’t work just throw America’s CEOs in the pokey.  And Republicans are driven by “political ideology?”

May 29 was the date when the Obama administration had to concede that the U.S. auto fleet cannot practically consume enough ethanol to fulfill Congress’s quotas. So Obama announced a new program so motorists can consume more ethanol. The U.S. must subsidize ethanol because the U.S. already subsidizes ethanol. Ethanol is corrosive and damages the engines and fuels systems of today’s cars and trucks (damages not covered by factory warranties), and damages ordinary pumps, piping and storage tanks.

The Agriculture Dept. will pull dollars from a New Deal outfit, the Commodity Credit Corp. that was created in 1933 to “stabilize, support and protect farm income and prices” for grants for states to build special equipment to service the 6 out of every 100 vehicles that can run, maybe, on the higher ethanol blends. A little government hokey-pokey there, but the point of the subsidy seems to be saving the subsidy — not the taxpayers.

You have probably seen pictures of the thick smog in China, and the Chinese people wearing gas masks. That is not carbon dioxide pollution. CO2 is not a pollutant, but what we exhale. You learned, supposedly, in high school biology about photosynthesis. You exhale CO2, the plants take it in as fertilizer and release the oxygen.  It’s a good thing, and completely unrelated to “global warming.”

Bernie Sanders called, on Saturday, for the Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch Brothers and other wealthy energy magnates. “This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real.” Bernie is quite sure that the rise of ISIS can be attributed to global warming. But then way back in 1941, a scientist was claiming that global warming caused Hitler. Warmer temperatures “may produce a trend toward dictatorial governments.People are more docile and easily led in warm weather.”

So there you go. Nothing new under the sun. Same old, Same old.



Hillary: Not to Worry, the VA Scandal Is Not a “Widespread” Problem. Only 40 Vets Died. by The Elephant's Child

2016_Split_Campaign_-06aa5Hillary is at it again. She said on Rachel Maddow’s show on Friday, that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs are real, but not nearly as widespread as the coverage would indicate.

She blamed Republicans for using the issue as part of an “ideological agenda” and said “they want the VA to fail.”

“Now nobody would believe that from the coverage you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in – in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have,” Clinton said.

“They try to create a downward spiral, don’t fund it to the extent that it needs to be funded, because they want it to fail, so then we can argue for privatization.”

Veterans, she said, often report having a positive experience with the VA when they get treatment through the agency. “I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment.”

Translation: Those nasty Republicans are just on a partisan witch-hunt, and don’t care about the veterans. And that’s why they are having these partisan hearings about Benghazi, trying to blame me for my dear friend Chris Stevens death, and saying nasty things about me, when I worked so hard as Secretary of State and I was so proud of what I had accomplished. And when he died, I couldn’t sleep for weeks and weeks. It’s all because Republicans are such evil people.

The embarrassing facts: Extended wait times at VA hospitals have aroused public outrage. A VA Inspector General’s report last year found that veterans in Phoenix waited an average 115 days for an initial doctor’s appointment—while VA officials claimed the average wait time was only 24 days. The report also found that 1,700 veterans were intentionally kept off patient rolls and 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment at the Phoenix facility.

Senate Democrats blocked a  Republican bill to fund the VA earlier this month because Democrats wanted more funding for a bigger budget deal that would include more funding for things like climate change.

Hillary is a remarkably callous person. No problem using veterans problems with the VA to  pitch her own victim status. But then she never had much problem with the unnecessary death of four Americans at Benghazi, nor with lying to their parents about why they died. The VA taking vets off the wait list to make the VA official record of efficiency in treating patients look better, is not really a “widespread” problem — only 40 vets died because they couldn’t get treatment.

And it is still not fixed. Although General Shinseki was fired, the people responsible for the scandal were not. It’s a government agency. They don’t fire people.



A Question of Character. by The Elephant's Child

hillary clintonHillary’s greatest problem is that though she has a profound interest in politics, she has really lousy political instincts. That is a sense of the right thing to do and a sense for how one’s actions will appear to others. The Clinton administration was full of controversy, the travel office scandal erupted early, as did Hillary’s expectation of being Bill’s co-president.

What she learned instead was a defensiveness and self-protective attitude that led to lies and concealment. Bill had pretty good political instincts, and a good-old-boy, aw-shucks grin that served him pretty well. You would think that observing Lois Lerner and her e-mail scandal would have alerted Hillary to potential troubles, but instead it led her to have her own private server installed in her home. Secretiveness replaced openness. When you try to pretend openness as a protective pose — nobody believes you anyway. It’s too late.

Good political instincts would have prevented the whole catastrophe of Benghazi. Deposing Muammar Gaddafi, refusing security to the ambassadorial mission, denial of the nature of the terrorist attackers, refusing help to the embattled American contractors, and then the absurd attempt to blame it all on a short, dumb video, and then Hillary met the plane with the bodies returning to the United States, and assured mourning parents that they would get the guy who made the video.

Any careful read of Hillary’s history should prevent her from ever being considered as “the first woman president” which seems to be her aim. I don’t accept the idea of first of this sex, first of this ethnicity, first of this color. That is not what is important about a person’s qualifications, but rather their accomplishments and their character. Can we trust them with high office? Do they have a good understanding of American history and character? Do they have a good mind? Do they have good political instincts?  Trust it to the Left to always put the emphasis on the wrong things.



There’s a Bloodbath in Syria! by The Elephant's Child
April 26, 2011, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East | Tags: , , , , ,

In Syria, the Assad regime made a fateful decision this week.  They used their army —even including tanks —to kill civilians protesting peacefully.  Bashar Assad made the decision that it was better to kill hundreds of unarmed Syrian citizens than to risk the fall of his regime.  This is the man whom Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton thought was a peaceful reformer. As Elliott Abrams says:

In Syria and Lebanon, there is confusion about the American position. Many believe we are Assad well-wishers, and certainly Obama’s policy for 2009 and 2010 lent credence to that view. Now, the administration is coy: It talks of new sanctions but does not impose them yet. It talks of U.N. action but it is the U.K. and France that introduce the resolution, not the United States. It will not recall the U.S. ambassador who was so foolishly dispatched to Damascus late last year.

Two weeks ago, al Jazeera turned against Assad and is doing what it did in Egypt — broadcasting whatever it can get its hands on about the brutality of the regime and the courage of the protesters.  The Amir of Qatar owns the station.

Syria is closely allied with Shia Iran, and with Hamas and Hezbollah, but the Syrian population is 74 percent Sunni. If the Alawite regime were to fall, it would be widely interpreted as a step toward the fall of the ayatollahs, so what happens in Syria is hugely important for American interests in the region.  The president is, um, testing the wind, thinking about sanctions. He could recall our ambassador. He could pressure Turkey very hard to distance itself from the regime.  He did say that Mubarak and Quaddafi must step down, he hasn’t even suggested that Bashar should.

He did issue a travelers’ warning.




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