American Elephants


The Affordable Care Act May Not Be Affordable. Who Knew? by The Elephant's Child

The Health and Human Services inspector general has been busy. Two new audits reveal failures in ObamaCare on an astounding scale. There are unresolved discrepancies, rules violations and technology problems that expose taxpayers to unknown costs.  They bit off more than they could chew.

The HHS inspector general found 2.9 million “inconsistencies” in applications that were submitted to the federal Health Care.gov exchange during the first five months of open enrollment. “Inconsistencies” refers to things like Social Security numbers that don’t match government data, income data, family size, and citizenship that don’t check out. Around 1.3 million of the problems dealt with citizenship. An additional million involved declared income.

The inspector general was unable to resolve these “discrepancies” because the ObamaCare “eligibility was not fully operational.” In other words, who knows if the applicants were eligible to receive ObamaCare at all? Or if they are eligible are they getting the right subsidies? Are they even citizens?

Only 6 million had filled out applications by the end of February, and only 2.6 million had enrolled. Of the 300,000 problems that HHS was capable of resolving, it had only managed to clear up for just 10,000.

Eleven states ran exchanges, and had problems with 34% of the applications they had received — a total of 422,772 problems. They didn’t say if they had resolved any. The federal exchange and two state exchanges didn’t have adequate internal controls to make sure taxpayers were protected from fraud and abuse.

To top that all off, the government hasn’t been reconciling its enrollment numbers with insurance companies to account for dropouts and cancellations. Who knows how many are actually enrolled, or how many people believe they are enrolled and are not? And how many have tried to get coverage to which they are not entitled?

In the private sector, there would be criminal charges and a lot of self-important people would be heading to jail.

The president has changed the law, changed due dates, changed requirement and delayed one thing and another. How that plays out I don’t know. It’s probably one of those —”after the election” things he is so fond of.

If I understand correctly, he has promised the insurance companies that the government would (taxpayers would) bail them out if they came up short. What that means I don’t know.



A Nation Grieves. by The Elephant's Child

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Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped over two weeks ago, and murdered by Hamas thugs. One can hardly imagine the grief of a nation. In a remarkably tasteless remark, President Obama urged Israel not to “destabilize the situation,” he warned Israel—not Palestine. Blame the families and friends of murdered kids, but not the murderers. He claimed that “Israelis have the full support and friendship of the United States.” I doubt that many Israelis believe that one.

The sixteen year olds are Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel who is also an American citizen. Our hearts go out to their families, and the Israeli people.

It is President Obama’s radical Mideast policies that have destabilized the entire Middle East. The president’s 2009 Cairo University speech helped to open the door to revolution and upheaval. He came to office with the illusion that all the problems in the Middle East were caused by the “problems between Israel and Palestine.” Obama believed that he could bring the Israelis and the Palestinians to the bargaining table and make a lasting peace agreement between them, and there would be peace in the Middle East, and he would be celebrated as the peacemaker or something like that.

The only flaw in the ointment was that Palestinians had not the slightest interest in peace, and wanted the Israelis all dead and no country of Israel to exist. The Palestinians fire rockets into Israel regularly, kidnap citizens, as they did these three teenagers. They bring up their children to hate Israel, toddlers are given mock suicide vests. The mothers of jihadists who blow themselves up in an effort to kill Israelis celebrate their dead sons as martyrs in a righteous cause.

In 2011, Obama declared out-of-the-blue that Israel should be shrunk back to its indefensible 1967 borders, and warned Israel “the status quo is unsustainable.” He declared “the international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome”, and claimed “the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.” This is sheer  ignorance of both the history of the Middle East and the history of the state of Israel.

The U.S led “peace framework” talks broke down earlier this year. The idea seemed to be that Israel would offer all sorts of concessions to the Palestinian Authority, and then the U.S would dangle releasing convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard before Prime Minister Netanyahu in the hope that he would fold.

The State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. They are the only country that shares our ideas of free markets and free people. The other guys are talking about blowing up Israel, driving Israel into the sea, preparing to attack the United States, declaring a new Caliphate, and trying to smuggle more weapons into Gaza so they can kill more Israelis. One would think our president and our State Department would notice the difference.



Another Kind of Child Abuse! by The Elephant's Child

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There are many things wrong with our public schools, a good percentage can be traced to the fact that our school administrators—the principals — are idiots. The damage done to little kids in the name of “zero tolerance” policies mounts up.

A 5 year-old kindergartner in Surprise, Arizona was told to pull down his pants on the playground by another kindergartner. This is not a remarkable happening. The other kid told Eric Lopez that if he didn’t pull them down he would pull Lopez’ pants down for him.

Eric Lopez pulled his pants down, as instructed, and was hauled off to the principal’s office and forced to sign a “sexual misconduct” form. Eric, a bright little kid, knows his letters so he signed. So now he has a label and a file that will follow him for the next 12 years. Eric did not know, and nobody told him— was that he had a right to have his mom present.

His mother didn’t find out until after the forced confession. She has since filed significant paperwork to appeal the label attached to her son of “sexualized minor.” Oh please! These are some people that are supposed to have some familiarity with kindergartners. They’re only 5 years old! They don’t have any  idea what a “sexualized minor is.”

The Dysart Unified School District insists that it was simply following standard procedures in the case of “indecent exposure.”

Read that line again. This is “indecent bureaucratic behavior.” This is follow the rules, even when  you know that the rule is absurd, and makes no sense, and you are damaging a five-year-old child and his family.

How did we get to the point where bureaucrats are so fearful of unpleasant consequences for not following the rules exactly as stated, even when some tiny mote of reality must exist in the bureaucratic brain that this is really, truly, monumentally stupid?

In a world where a kid gets expelled from school for biting a pop-tart into a shape resembling a gun — or the State of Idaho, if you turn it barrel-up—it’s clear that we have slipped a cog.  Actually the pop-tart looked a lot more like the state than it did like a  gun. Similar educational bureaucratese pops up frequently. We have all seen way too many examples.

Lenore Skenazy has a blog about “Free Range Kids,” and has written a book by the same name.  I was a free range kid, as were my children. The nonsense is fairly new, and quite ‘progressive.’




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