American Elephants


When Will Journalists Ask What’s In It? by The Elephant's Child

I don’t understand the mainstream media. Theoretically, they are journalists, trained to dig into archives and conversations, to ask questions and conduct interviews. And granted, most are Liberals, but still…How come they miss so much? Only now that ObamaCare is coming fully into effect, a few media sources are beginning to notice that all is not as it seemed.

Headline: AP Exclusive: Applying for health care not easy And this is a surprise? The forms run to 15 pages for a three-person family. Online there are 21 steps with added questions. Three major federal agencies, including the IRS will scrutinize your application. That’s the first part that lets you know if you qualify for financial help. Then you have to pick a health insurance plan. Now your financial information is to be made available to the CIA as well.

HHS has put out a full 60 pages on its website to describe all the wonders of the 15 page form. Is this not typical of government?

The” Affordable Care Act” (you always knew that name was a joke) has 21 tax increases, and costs twice as much in new taxes as was advertised.  Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation pegs the price tag at over $1 trillion, almost twice the $570 billion suggested when the law was passed by legislative trickery three years ago.

The individual mandate was supposed to cost $17 billion. Looks more like $55 billion.

The “Cadillac tax” on higher-cost plans is $111 billion, not $32 billion.

The employer mandate is not the estimated $52 billion but a stunning $106 billion, and expect those estimates to continue to climb. Federal Programs are always vastly more expensive than estimated, often to and three times as much.

Conservatives warned in the beginning that the only federal government plan that had come in significantly cheaper than estimates was the much derided Bush  Medicare Drug Plan. And of course, Democrats removed the incentive that made the plan less expensive — the so-called “donut hole.” Democrats do not understand incentives.

Many employers will drop spouses from their insurance plans. People are able to keep their adult children on their policies until they reach age 26, which is an added cost for insurers. There is no requirement to keep spouses on the policies, and many employers are expected to drop them.

The country’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — the cost for insurance coverage— to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014.

When media people have to apply for their own health insurance, and pay for it, they may get interested in just what the act entails and how it will affect the American people. Of course when people really needed to know what they were facing, the media was either absent or uninterested. The closed doors behind which the law was being devised made a mockery of administration transparency claims, but nobody noticed.

I once went online to check out the Columbia Journalism School, and the classes all seemed to be “how to write an obituary,” or “how to write about global warming” (I made that up, there is a Society of Environmental Journalists that takes care of the science part. There isn’t any. They teach each other.) But there wasn’t a single class mentioned in journalistic ethics, or “how to be a government watchdog.” But then this was just an online list of classes, not an official catalogue.



Our Irresponsible Media, Irresponsible Again. by The Elephant's Child

Do you remember Polifact’s  “Big Lie of the Year?” Well, of course the fact-checking record of the fact checkers is not exactly pristine. It remains highly tinged with partisan bias, and a distinct lack of self-awareness. This was a big one, though.

It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign — that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep’s parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad.

And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.

The public, of course, did not express collective outrage. That was Polifact pretending more attention that existed. And they did not accurately represent what Mitt Romney said in the ad:

[Mitt Romney] Says Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs.

Here’s what Reuters reported on Thursday:” Fiat and its U.S. unit Chrysler expect to roll out at least 100,000 Jeeps in China when production starts in   2014 as they seek to catch up with rivals…”

Mitt Romney was also scoffed at for mentioning dangers in Mali.

 



The Overheated Media Once Again Makes Fools of Themselves! by The Elephant's Child

Progressives apparently thought that the Tea Party Movement was so scary— all those people carrying flags and signs — that the ordinary folk out there would be frightened.  After all,  New York Times reporter Benedict Carey found the country running a right-wing political fever of rage, in a front-page Sunday Week in Review essay.  The online headline said “When Does Political Anger Turn to Violence?”

An archive photo from Getty Images of the late-1960s left-wing domestic terrorist group The Weathermen, with Obama’s friend Bill Ayers sat directly above a picture of marching Tea Party protesters.  Seems to me that the Weathermen were actually responsible for killing and attempted killing.  The photos caption:

VARYING DEGREES OF RAGE The Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, second from right, during the Days of Rage in 1969, and anti-health reform protesters in Washington on Sunday.

Rep. John Lewis, (D-GA)claimed that when he and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked through a tea party protest last week in Washington, they heard the N-word shouted at them 15 times.  No video or audio recording — when everyone seems to have a recorder — has shown up to back the claim.  Andrew Breitbart offered a hefty reward for any such recording, but none has appeared, and videos of the Caucus walk have surfaced with a distinct absence of such threats. The only person arrested for threatening violence in recent days was held for threatening Eric Cantor, the No.2 Republican in the House, and a spent bullet hit the window of his district headquarters.

The Tea Parties I have seen videos of, seem cheerful, as if the protesters are having a great time waving their Gadsden ‘Don’t Tread On Me” flags or national flags, and their signs and conversation seem to indicate that they are well-informed, and object to policy. There is an absence of threats unless you consider “Kill the Bill” terribly threatening.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) canceled a town hall meeting on the healthcare law Tuesday because of concerns about the security of the event reported The Hill.

The congressman’s office cited safety issues at the facility where the meeting was to take place and threats to his office, according to a report by News 21.

We just thought it best to cancel it for safety concerns.  This was not meant to be a place where we’re going to talk partisan politics, Pat Lowry, a member of Ryan’s staff told News 21.

Cute idea, fellows, but it just didn’t work. The Tea Party people are angry, but their anger is directed at policy they disagree with, and at the process through which that policy was enacted.  And just as a reminder, this is exactly the way things are supposed to work.

Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Gullible Left-Wing Media Discovers Right-Wing “Hate:”

And a Little Trip Down Memory-Lane:

There are few things so embarrassing as a montage of the media obediently following the talking points, especially when there was no basis for all their excitement, no basis at all.



The Continuingly Amazing Story of ACORN Activities. by The Elephant's Child
September 15, 2009, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Law, Liberalism | Tags: , ,

I hope you have been following the ACORN drama as it unfolds. Following three incredible videos of an ACORN sting involving a young couple, posing as a prostitute and her pimp, who wanted to buy a house as a base from which to operate a business featuring 13 year-old hookers imported from El Salvador, the couple approached ACORN for help.

ACORN workers were completely helpful, instructing the couple in how to defraud the government, avoid getting caught, hide their income and how to disguise the 13 year-old whores as something legal.

The couple went to ACORN housing offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York, and now in San Bernardino, California. You can see all the videos at Big Government.  The Census Bureau reacted quickly, and severed all ties with ACORN.  The organization has a long record of being prosecuted for voter fraud, but had contracted to supply census workers for the 2010 census.

Now a pattern emerges of ACORN workers very willing to help people engage in prostitution, tax fraud, housing fraud, and human trafficking of children.  The first video was of a meeting in ACORN’s Baltimore office on Thursday.  ACORN promptly fired the workers, and claimed that these two reporters had tried and failed to carry out their sting in other offices.

The Senate voted to block HUD from giving grants to ACORN.  House Republicans have called for a total cutoff of federal funds to ACORN.  ACORN, in turn, has threatened to sue Fox News, and Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe — the reporters.  They were threatened with prosecution in Maryland, but it turns out that ACORN cannot operate legally in the state of Maryland.

You would think that all this drama would make page one in most newspapers, or at least get a mention.  Charles Gibson said in an interview on W AM Chicago’s “Don Wade & Roma Morning Show, that he didn’t even know about it.

British papers had no trouble picking up on the story.  Oddly, the American media didn’t know anything about Green Jobs Czar Van Jones either.  Being a professed radical communist, 9/11 truther is apparently no big deal for a figure in the administration.

NBC Reporter Chuck Todd said that “covering the Van Jones story was a waste of time”  Jones, he said was just a minor character way down the pecking order in the administration and just wasn’t important.  GatewayPundit notes that “Jones was in charge of doling out $80 billion to selected green projects.” I suppose that as taxpayer dollars are measured these days, $80 billion is no longer a big deal.

Does the media simply think that these things don’t matter?  Do they not matter if the perpetrators are on the “correct” political side?  Do they not matter because in both cases, there are close ties with President Obama?  Is our media so politicized that they do not recognize their own mindset?  Do they not recognize that this is rather closely related to declining subscriptions and lost journalism jobs? It is a puzzle.



What Should We Learn From 9/11? by The Elephant's Child

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of  Homeland Security, famously referred to terrorism with “nuance” as “a man-caused disaster.” If that wasn’t enough, she didn’t know how the 9/11 terrorists got into the country — she thought they came in from Canada, and Immigration is part of her department.  She added that crossing the border illegally is not a crime, which it is, and then approved an absolutely moronic intelligence assessment that warned of increased “radical right-wing extremism” including the recruitment of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Conservatives were justifiably insulted.

The “unbiased” media is now claiming that Secretary Napolitano was right.  Why just look at the past two weeks:

In the past two weeks, the country has seen the bombing of a Starbucks coffee shop in New York City, the arrest of four men for allegedly plotting to blow up synagogues and shoot down planes, the shooting of two soldiers at an Army recruitment center in Arkansas, the assassination of a doctor inside a Kansas church, and the shooting at the Holocaust Museum…. Although these are not all cases of right-wing extremism, each is an example of domestic terrorism.

What a grouping of odd people.  You have domestic Islamist jihadists,  a crackpot who murdered an abortion provider, and an 88 year old “9/11 Truther,” a neo-Nazi, who hates Bush, Cheney, the Neo-Cons and is a violent anti-Semite, and this is the fault of radical Right-Wing extremists?  The only connection is that many conservatives are opposed to abortion.  How crass of  Liberals to instantly think of how they can exploit these events to score cheap political points.

We have been confronting an international terrorist threat domestically for over 20 years when the World Trade Center bombers began training in the New York area in 1998.  This latest example of domestic jihadism is hardly the only domestic plot that has been exposed and prevented.

Democrats, for political purposes, have chosen to claim that there really never has been a terrorist threat, that it was only the actions of the evil BushCheneyRumsfeld that drove otherwise innocent young Muslim men into the arms and training camps of Osama bin Laden.  If these terrible men had not tried to scare you into voting Republican by threatening you with terrorism, then, well the terrorists would just vanish— poof!  Madrid, London, Bali?  The Cole?  The embassies?  Never mind.

But it’s all under control.  Jake Tapper (ABC) asked what would happen to the first terrorist to be tried in U.S. court were not found guilty?  Would he be released in the U.S.? Imprisoned anyway? Sent back to the battlefield?  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he wasn’t going to get into hypotheticals.

The administration announced that it was sending four of the Uighurs to Bermuda.  Great Britain announced that Bermuda is a British protectorate, and nobody asked them, and they want to know exactly under what conditions and safeguards these people are being sent to Bermuda.  It was noted recently that the Uighurs at Guantanamo threw a television across the room because a woman on the screen bared her arms.  There are consequences to be considered.

The rest of the Uighurs are going to Palau in exchange for $200 million.



Is there bias in the media? Perish the Thought. by The Elephant's Child

Many people by now have seen the videos of CNN reporter Susan Rosegen demonstrating, for the uninitiated, media bias at it’s most blatant, at an Illinois Tea Party last week.  Poor Susan made headlines herself for her perfect portrayal of political bias.  Objectivity anyone?  Bill Whittle explains Media bias, at Pajamas Media TV.



Now they tell us. by The Elephant's Child

Gwen Ifill, who will moderate the vice presidential debate on Thursday, has written a book called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama to be published on January 20, 2009.  Inauguration Day.  Does anyone sense a, um, conflict of interest here?

If Obama wins the election, she will certainly sell many more copies, if he loses, sales will be slow at best.

Ms. Ifill did a good job as moderator of the vice presidential debate in 2004. But this time she is in an awkward position.

The McCain campaign was not informed of the book, nor of the conflict of interest, which calls the Commission on Presidential Debates into question.  A uncomfortable situation that was entirely preventable.



“The fix is in, and it’s working…” by The Elephant's Child

Confirmation that what you already knew is true, but you knew that. Glen Renyolds (Instapundit) had this from a media newsroom:

A READER AT A MAJOR NEWSROOM EMAILS: “Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true.  We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in Arizona.  Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae.  Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, other.  People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored.  The fix is in, and its working.” I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted.

But you knew that.  The Anchoress adds: “I have a couple friends who work in the MSM, too, and one of them tells me the newsroom is (exact words) “unbelievably cavalier” about any complaints viewers register about their reports, what they ignore, their bias or the way they edit Republicans vs. the way they treat Dems.  “Cavalier” as in the fix is in and they don’t even have to pretend to care what half the country thinks or wants.

But you knew that, didn’t you.



Don’t Cast Caution to the Winds! by The Elephant's Child

Denmark is usually cited as the world’s most successful wind-power pioneer.  Denmark is a small, flat, windy country with a population of around 5.5 million people.  Researchers have put a value on Danish wind energy.  They believe that wind power cut $167 million (1 billion kroner) off Danish electricity bills in 2005.  Danish consumers, on the other hand paid 1.4 billion kroner for subsidies for wind power.

The trouble with wind is that it doesn’t always blow when you need the electricity, and often blows when you don’t need it.  Wind power cannot be stored. Thus you must have electricity constantly available as backup for the times when the wind isn’t blowing.

Denmark relies on their neighbors, Norway and Sweden, and takes their excess production of electricity, and conversely sends it’s excess wind-power generated electricity back to the neighbors.  In 2003, the scale of subsidies caught the attention of the media, which claimed that the subsidies were out of control.  When subsidies were cut back, the building of wind turbines ground to a halt.

One of the big problems seems to be that where wind is, there are not transmission lines. Often, the wind is far from the grid.  Transmission lines run about a million dollars a mile.  Most of Denmark’s electricity comes from plants that burn imported coal.

There are some lessons here, which suggest that the “experts” in Congress should get out of the way and let the market find the way.  Congress doesn’t do well with making the rules for energy.



Liberal Media Unhinged by American Elephant
August 21, 2008, 5:15 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Local sheriff’s deputies botch a drug raid, Newsweek blames….BUSH! I kid you not:

While rare, these cases say something about our culture. A country is not just defined by big sweeping events like wars and treaties and elections. It’s defined by what goes on in neighborhoods, towns, homes. In the past eight years, we have seen our privacy invaded in the name of “homeland security.” We have all been living in a climate of “shoot (or accuse) first, ask questions later.” And that attitude is contagious….

The next president will not only have to deal with the economy, with global warming, with wars in other countries … he will have to deal with fear and rage at home. A country does not only lose itself by what happens on other shores; it loses itself in living rooms, kitchens, backyards. America will lose itself when we look around us and nothing feels like home anymore. [read more here if you can bear it]

Patti Davis (yes, that Patti Davis) writing for Newsweek.

Has Newsweek forgotten what happens to Americans when Democrats run the White House?

and we’re supposed to be afraid of Republicans because of a local matter they had absolutely nothing to do with?

No thanks Newsweek, I’m sticking with the GOP where it’s safe!



Arrogance you can believe in… by The Elephant's Child

Obama’s world tour is becoming a little embarrassing. The candidate— not yet the nominee — is doing his commander-in-chief imitation, and loftily informing everyone how things will change as soon as he is anointed elected. Since he knows so little about the Middle East, one would think that he would approach generals, prime-ministers and commanders with a degree of humility, but that is not to be.

Foreign Policy 101: It is better to listen to experts than to expert to the experts.

The Democrat position on the War in Iraq evolved, not immediately after they voted for it, but after the successful invasion. It started to look like President Bush might have a winning war on his hands. A successful George W. Bush could not to be allowed. There was an election coming in 2004, and defeating Bush was far more important than what was best for our military or our country.

Democrats have been loud in their insistence that the “war” was only properly in Afghanistan and only properly in search of Osama bin Laden. Gone was any consideration of the Long War against Islamic Terrorism. Right down the memory hole. Historian Arthur Herman has a wonderful article reminding us all of the real facts on the ground.

Something Obama has apparently never done is to study a map of the Middle East. Looking closely at the centrality of Iraq and the states that border Iraq is important, and informative.

In the clip above, Obama, fully into his commander-in-chief mode, is making pronouncements that he, as a very junior senator, has no business making. He manages to claim “his job as commander-in-chief”, sneer at President Bush who “says” he is deferring to the commanders on the ground, and pretends to have better judgment than all of the above. And because he has better judgment, he deserves all the credit, or something like that.

Danger Will Robinson! Danger Will Robinson! Danger Will Robinson!

Obama’s sole claim to “good judgment” and the very basis of his candidacy is his original opposition to the war as a junior back bencher in the Illinois state legislature. Without any access to the facts that the President, his Cabinet and the Congress had, Obama signed on with the anti-war left and the netroots.

The facts about his judgment seem to indicate otherwise. He doesn’t change his mind as he alters his position. He remains absolutely correct.

And that is the real problem.



In the Tank! by American Elephant

Once again The New York Times proves they are not in the news business, but rather the propaganda business. The erstwhile “paper of record”, now known more for the wanton publication of national security secrets than objective reporting, has rejected John McCain’s response to Barack Obama’s Op-Ed which America’s answer to Pravda ran last week.

It’s no wonder then, that an increasing number of Americans believe the mainstream media are trying to influence the election in Obama’s favor. Forty-nine percent believe journalists are trying to throw the election to Obama — and this is before news of the NYT’s shenanigans — while only 14 percent of the most deranged leftists thought the media would try to help McCain, and only one in four voters thought the media would play fair.

In defense of his decision, the NYT’s Op-Ed Editor, former Special Assistant and Senior Speechwriter to Bill Clinton, David Shipley, wrote:

Thank you for sending me Senator McCain’s essay.

I’d be very eager to publish the Senator on the Op-Ed page.

However, I’m not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written.

…It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate.

But setting “timetables” and announcing “troop levels” are two of the major disagreements McCain, and the military leaders in Iraq, have with Obama’s Iraq policy du jour. In other words, Shipley wants McCain to endorse Obama’s current plan.

Thankfully, McCain told The Times to go to hell, although, to our disappointment, not in so many words.

So, since the Rag of Record, The Obama Times, The Old Grey Leftist, won’t publish it, we are proud to. Here is John McCain’s Op-Ed in full:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

If you haven’t already, you can cancel your subscription to The New York Times here, or by calling 1-800-NYTIMES.




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