American Elephants


“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.



Let’s get real. Drill. by The Elephant's Child

ANWR coastal plain

If you believe, as I do, that the price of gasoline at the pump is high largely because the Democrats in Congress have for decades refused to allow us to drill for our own oil reserves; you must let Congress know how you feel. A good percentage of members of Congress do not buy their own gas, or their own groceries, and have no appreciation for the pressures on the family budget.

Contact your representatives and senators by going to: www.house.gov or www.senate.gov, click on representatives or senators, and you can find them by clicking on your state. Be polite, but firm. You have no idea how many excuses they can come up with. They need to hear from you. Write, call, e-mail. If you think that a congress that cannot even manage their own dining room can run refineries, you are really living in cloud cuckoo land.

The Democrats are deeply in debt to the environmental organizations, and pressured to do their bidding. There are no viable environmental ideas to avoid drilling. Rigs on the outer continental shelf cannot be seen from the beach. Fish love the drilling platforms as catch around the Louisiana rigs attests. The area of ANWR where they want to drill is not a “pristine wilderness”, but mosquito-laden mudflats. Go to Google Images, and enter ANWR coastal plain ( be sure to include “coastal plain” which is where they want to drill, not the beautiful part of the wildlife reserve) and investigate for yourself. The caribou love the pipeline from Prudhoe, for they can rub up against the supports and scratch. The drilling area is the size of an airport in an area the size of South Carolina, and would see activity only in the winter when wildlife is absent.

Above all, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is not the cause of global warming, and there isn’t really any reason to restrict it. If it increases, it makes plants grow faster, and is a good thing.

Remember that the planet has not warmed in the last decade — at all. In the past five years, it has cooled. Nobody knows what this means for the future, but if we are in for a real period of cooling, which is possible, we are going to need more energy, and not just for our SUVs.



Um…Can we talk? by The Elephant's Child

Is there something wrong with a good argument? How do you progress if your ideas never have to stand up to a challenge? Our country was founded on the idea of vigorous debate.

Those who wrote the new Constitution of 1787 and those who supported it could foresee that a clear vote against it in the State ratifying conventions could doom the experiment in democratic government in its infancy. As constitutions go, it is a short document, encouraging debate in every clause. “Each House may determine the Rules of the Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour; and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.” What greater invitation to debate could you have?

Alexander Hamilton, in an effort to win over his home State of New York, began a series of essays explaining and defending the Constitution. These were published in New York City newspapers under the pseudonym Publius. Two other advocates of this new form of government, James Madison and John Jay, added their contributions. The efforts of these three men resulted in The Federalist Papers, an analysis of the Constitution and an enduring classic of political philosophy. And, perhaps most of all, it was an invitation to discussion and debate.

Discussion and debate were different in a time when books were somewhat rare and there was no radio, no television, and communication with other towns depended on a fast horse. Today we are deluged with printed material, and constant commentary from instant messaging to town hall meetings. We are in communication with the entire world. There is no shortage of ability to debate, and now that we are in a campaign for the Presidency of the United States, there are formal debates — Obama was just complaining about 21 debates — and yet…

The debates are curiously lacking in substance. There are serious matters that need discussion. The foolish effort to put the world’s food into our gas tanks, the curious reluctance to drill for the oil that we know is there. The notion that to increase gas mileage we only have to make a law. There is the strange, gullible belief that there must be some other viable form of energy out there that will solve all our problems, and the closest we can get to real substance is threatening the oil companies and offering to temporarily remove the gas tax for the summer. Could we talk sensibly about nuclear power? Could we discuss the portion of ANWR that was set aside for drilling? Instead we are talking about re-negotiating Free Trade pacts, an insult to our allies. We are pretending that manufacturing jobs have been lost, not to technology, but to NAFTA, which has been a benefit to the three countries involved, and nobody really wants to re-negotiate.

Two candidates are advocating socialized medicine, which has never worked anywhere. Could we debate? Not a chance. Can we talk about the value of cutting the capital gains tax, or reducing corporate taxes to the level of other countries? Can we talk about whether highway funds should be used for other projects? How about importing medicine from other countries? How about a discussion about terrorism, or don’t we believe in that any more. Could we discuss the belief that climate change is a natural phenomenon? Don’t make me laugh.

You could come up with your own list of subjects that need to be discussed, and probably few of them are matters that are part of the current campaign.

Those who disagree with the opinions held by the Left are to be silenced. They will be attacked, smeared, accused, repudiated, denounced. What they will not be — is debated. Yet every advance made by humanity is made through trial and error. We learn by discussing and arguing. We learn from mistakes.

Because we are so reluctant to argue and debate, the public often does not understand what is involved in an issue. When the press departs from objectivity and becomes an advocate, they deprive the public of needed information. When arguments become emotional struggles to win at all costs, liberty is the victim. When someone is smeared instead of debated, it becomes harder to get citizens to stand up for what they believe.




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