American Elephants


The Way Things Work. by The Elephant's Child

Andrew Stuttaford excerpted this pertinent bit in the Corner at National Review Online, from a recent longer piece in Reason magazine by Steven Greenhut.   It’s worth repeating and considering.

The United States had 2.3 state and local government employees per 100 citizens in 1946 and has 6.5 state and local government employees per 100 citizens now. In 1947, Hodges writes, 78 percent of the national income went to the private sector, 16 percent to the federal sector, and 6 percent to the state and local government sector. Now 54 percent of the economy is private, 28 percent goes to the feds, and 18 percent goes to state and local governments. The trend lines are ominous.

Bigger government means more government employees. Those employees then become a permanent lobby for continual government growth. The nation may have reached critical mass; the number of government employees at every level may have gotten so high that it is politically impossible to roll back the bureaucracy, rein in the costs, and restore lost freedoms. People who are supposed to serve the public have become a privileged elite that exploits political power for financial gain and special perks. Because of its political power, this interest group has rigged the game so there are few meaningful checks on its demands. Government employees now receive far higher pay, benefits, and pensions than the vast majority of Americans working in the private sector. Even when they are incompetent or abusive, they can be fired only after a long process and only for the most grievous offenses.

It’s a two-tier system in which the rulers are making steady gains at the expense of the ruled. The predictable results: Higher taxes, eroded public services, unsustainable levels of debt, and massive roadblocks to reforming even the poorest performing agencies and school systems. If this system is left to grow unchecked, we will end up with a pale imitation of the free society envisioned by the Founders.



Green promises are not green because they are environmentally sound, but because they are snake oil! by The Elephant's Child

In the Old West there were, famously, medicine men who traveled around to small towns that were springing up, posing as doctors and selling bottles of elixir guaranteed, guaranteed, to cure all ills.  Often they had a companion who would play a little music, or sing to create something of a show and draw an audience.  The medicine man would promise wonderful things, no more aches, no more pain, no more cough, never tired, new lease on life with only a tablespoon every single day.

Modern day sellers of snake oil prepare you to do what they want you to do, with the techniques of  what today is called “community organizing.” The idea is to recognize people’s worries and to remind them every day how unhappy they are, and how miserable their situation is, and to turn those miseries to organizing to accomplish the organizer’s goals. In other words, you have been had.

Al Gore came by on Wednesday, in the middle of a sleet storm to tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the end is near, peddling  his own brand of snake oil.  Back in the late 70s, when it was first noticed that global temperatures seemed to be increasing, scientists looked for a cause and noted that CO2 was also increasing.  Ah Hah! From that oversimplified confusion of correlation and causation has emanated all sorts of mischief.  Enormous amounts of money have been invested in that mischief.

Environmentalists want to get rid of CO2. They want to get rid of petroleum, cars, nuclear energy, hydropower dams,  coal  or anything else that is extracted from the earth. They believe firmly that if only we invest enough money; wind, solar and geothermal “clean” energy will transform our whole society into something cleaner and more natural, and with more “social justice.”

2008 was an outstanding year.  The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records by installing 8,358 MW of new generating capacity (that’s what a wind farm could produce if everything worked and the wind blew at the proper speed all the time).  Now they need a bailout.  They can only proceed or be sustained if they are subsidized by the government.

The idea about wind energy sounded good.  Contrary to reports from wind energy advocates, wind farms create very few jobs and there are few energy, environmental or economic benefits. At least not compared to other ways that the money could be spent.  Most wind farm jobs are in construction, are short term — less than 6 months and are done by specialized workers brought in for the job.   Wind farm owners often contract with the suppliers for maintenance work, so there are no “new jobs” in the community.  Output from a wind turbine is intermittent, volatile and unreliable, and costs are high.

If the “green jobs” promise is snake oil, and studies show that it is, then why is the government willing to spend so much money on “green jobs?”  It is payback to the environmental organizations for their support in the campaign. The Apollo Alliance promised 5 million green jobs, but they just made up the figure.

Al Gore seems to believe that global warming is real and catastrophic. However, he is prepared to make many millions if Americans will just agree to try to stop global warming.  He is founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, a London based private equity fund, and a principal in Silicon Valley venture capital firm KPCB, both of which have major interests in global warming ventures.

Obama’s nominees for energy and environment posts are by far his most radical appointments. Snake oil will abound, and changes to America that few will like.  Call your senator now.



BREAKING NEWS: The fox IS in charge of the henhouse! by The Elephant's Child

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she who is 3rd in line for the presidency, has announced that Chairman Barney Frank will hold hearings to determine just how this financial crisis came about.

I feel faint, or sick, or something.  I will go take some Tylenol, or maybe Tums.



The New York Times is Lying to Your Face… by American Elephant

The news out of Iraq has been very good indeed — both military and civilian deaths have been drastically reduced, Iraqis are making significant political progress both at the local and national levels — a peaceful, stable Iraq seems more and more realistic all the time. Just the kind of news everyone should welcome.

Not the New York Times.

In fact, so distraught has the Grey Lady been over all the good news from Iraq, and the complete absense of any bad news for them to distort, exaggerate, and misrepresent, that they resorted to the only option left in their playbook — they decided to fabricate bad news instead.

So, last Sunday, the loathsome propagandists ran a huge front-page story (above the fold of course) smearing Iraq veterans as war-traumatized killers, coming home to spawn a nationwide epidemic of murder.

Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.”

Individually, these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war.

What the scum, and yes, these “journalists” and editors really are treasonous scum, at the NYT refuse to tell their readers, as any responsible journalists would do, was that despite their best efforts to show otherwise, according to the Times’ own figures, the rate of murders committed by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is far, FAR LESS than that of the general population! WAAAAY less.

John Hinderaker at Powerline does the number-crunching to put the blatant lie to the Times’ smear:

Do the math: the 121 alleged instances of homicide identified by the Times, out of a population of 700,000, works out to a rate of 17 per 100,000–quite a bit lower than the overall national rate of around 27.

But wait! The national rate of 27 homicides per 100,000 is an annual rate, whereas the Times’ 121 alleged crimes were committed over a period of six years. Which means that, as far as the Times’ research shows, the rate of homicides committed by military personnel who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan is only a fraction of the homicide rate for other Americans aged 18 to 24. Somehow, the Times managed to publish nine pages of anecdotes about the violence wreaked by returning servicemen without ever mentioning this salient fact.

The figures prove not only are our veterans NOT the war-crazed, cold-blooded murderers the Times makes them out to be — but the veterans of the US military are the very safest, most honorable company you could ever possibly hope to keep!

I don’t care how you feel about the war — this kind of intentional, dishonest, smear should be unacceptable to all Americans. I am still livid 5 days after the story broke! And the NYT has been originating and propagating such lies and heinous distortions since the war began. They have leaked national secrets that have made us all less safe, and printed information they knew would put Americans in danger.

I will not link to any story in the NYT, especially not this one. They are not honest purveyors of news, they are activists with an agenda, willing to betray the truth and their country for their political purposes.

I want to do everything in my power to drive these reprehensible hacks, whom I truly believe to be treasonous, out of business. Not only are they lying to the American people about our military men and women, they are lying to the world. They have done great harm to our nation, our people and our men and women in uniform while they are fighting on the battlefield.

If you still subscribe to the Times, I hope you will cancel your subscription here, or by calling 1-800-NYTIMES. If you are not a subscriber, I hope you will join me in refusing to visit or generate traffic to their site.

If you are as outraged as me, I hope you will even consider contacting businesses like Starbucks and other restaurants, Doctors’ offices, hotels, stores and other businesses that purchase bulk quantities of, or subscribe to the NYT and telling them you would appreciate it if they would give their business to a more honest, less controversial publication.

Many of these companies, like Starbucks, choose to carry the Times over other, more reputable papers. You might remind them it makes good business sense to switch to a paper that doesn’t offend so many of their customers.




%d bloggers like this: