American Elephants


Americans Deserve Better Than This! by The Elephant's Child

Jim Geraghty has a simple closing message: Americans Deserve Better Than This.

“The American people deserve to be treated better than the way their government treats them.”The

People who like their doctors and health insurance deserve to keep them. Our veterans deserve care in a timely manner. The American people deserve the truth about illegal immigrants released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They deserve straight answers from the Centers for Disease Control, and when a promise is made, it should be kept. Americans deserve a secure border, and when there is overwhelming support for restricting flights from countries with severe Ebola outbreaks, the option deserves careful consideration, not arrogant dismissal.

Americans of all political stripes deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, with no special targeting based upon political views. Our ambassadors and those serving our country overseas deserve protection when they ask for it. If American taxpayer money is going to be used to save a car company, the people deserve to know whether that company is making unsafe cars.

They deserve to send and receive e-mails, texts, and calls without the National Security Agency peering over their metaphorical shoulder without a warrant. They deserve a director of national intelligence who does not lie in testimony to Congress. For the amount of money we spend on gathering intelligence, we deserve better performance — or for an administration to act upon that intelligence more promptly. In a dangerous world, we deserve leaders who don’t fool themselves into thinking jihadists on the rise are just “the JV team.” They deserve a Secret Service that takes its job seriously and corrects its mistakes.

Republicans are not perfect, to be sure. They are ordinary people like us. You may have noticed that the big tent contains a lot of argument and disagreement, usually about who is a true Republican or a true Conservative, and who isn’t, which is silly. We are meant to argue and disagree because that is how we gradually find our way to better governance and better laws.

Democrats, on the other hand, speak with one voice, or at least one talking point, which has been analyzed for voter appeal in all sorts of focus groups and subjected to the best of skillful wordsmiths who pick just the right words to influence most widely. They are willing to excuse most problems of government, or announce some bold-sounding reform that proves to be a self-serving catastrophe like ObamaCare.

Republicans tried to tell the nation that you really can’t criticize health care for costing too much, impose 20,000 pages of rules and regulations for the medical establishment and the insurance industry, add all sorts of untested ideas that you’re just sure will save money, top it all off with a vast Federal bureaucracy that has to be paid for, and expect it to cost less and be more efficient. We haven’t even begun to see the depths to which this appalling law will reach, and the cost of it in both money and human health and well-being. Americans deserve better from their government.

There’s ISIS, which is being dismissed as a generational problem— and thus not worth our serious efforts, an attempt to make a “deal” with Iran, an apparent plan to flood the nation with millions of illegal immigrants in hopes of a permanent Democrat majority, which tells the world that we are not serious about our immigration laws, and the border is open to all, including ISIS.

The refusal to place any kind of travel restrictions on those coming from Ebola central beggars common sense. There’s the insistence on refusing to call terrorists — terrorists. And that does not begin to even touch the enormous numbers of well-known scandals. The American people do deserve better than this.

If Republicans capture the Senate, then there is a real possibility of defunding some of the policies that should never have been enacted.



The Fine Art of Drawing A Line — A Real One. by The Elephant's Child

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The president apparently is gearing up to do some massive amnesty by executive order, after the election, of course. Why he is so determined to do this is a bit of a puzzle, but the assumption seems to be that they will, being nativos, and poor, rely on welfare and become Democrat voters. There is no particular need for more gardeners, laborers and unskilled construction workers, since the people who usually fill those jobs are currently unemployed at a completely unsatisfactory high rate.

If the current Democrat drive to raise the minimum wage succeeds, the unemployment rate for unskilled workers will increase even more, as more employers go out of business or increase their use of mechanization in one way or another.

Many people want a fence on the Southern border, while others believe it to be useless, which, from the pictures of people climbing over, seems to be the case. The whole world currently knows that our Southern border is essentially wide open should they choose to get in. And when we offer free schooling, welfare, housing, food stamps and free medical care to all comers, why wouldn’t the world move in?

Giving “amnesty” to “Dreamers” will do nothing to improve the situation, nor will some kind of amnesty that requires them to pay a fine and wait a number of years to become a citizen. If you want to stop the influx, you have to make it clear that illegals are not welcome. No exceptions, no excuses.

The Carter administration was casually passive and weak. When Ronald Reagan became president, everyone expected a continuation of the same state of affairs. After all, he was a former movie star. Then 13,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization  (PATCO) walked off the job. Reagan recognized the stress-filled demanding nature of their jobs, and offered an 11 percent wage increase. PATCO demanded  a 100 percent pay increase which would have been a blow to taxpayers at a time when Reagan was trying to trim the federal budget.

Under a provision of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, the strike was illegal. Reagan ordered the controllers back to work. Reagan told his Labor Secretary “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, at any time.” He gave then a 48-hour deadline. Some returned to work. When the 48 hours expired, Reagan fired 11,345 striking controllers. Striking controllers were banned from federal employment.

It was a national security issue, for American AWACs bombers were in the skies every day, and PATCO in effect controlled the skies. In a show of true bipartisanship, congressional Democrats stood behind the president. Many airport support and military personnel were pressed into service, and a significant number of flights decreased. The Soviet Union, and this was at the height of the Cold War, saw that the American president’s rhetorical toughness would be matched by tough action. It changed everything. George Shultz, Reagan’s most effective secretary of state said the PATCO decision was the  most important foreign policy decision  Reagan ever made.

You can’t do legal  immigration if nobody believes that you mean it. You cannot say we’ll just admit all these cute little children, or these good workers who overstayed their student visas, and then expect the terrorists to stay out. When the world believes that the United States is open to all, and all they have to do is get here and there’s free schooling and welfare and food stamps, and citizenship sooner or later — you cannot pretend that there are rules and that we protect our borders — when it is not true. This means that some very nice people have to go back to their country of origin, and get in line. Sorry. If you are illegal, you must leave. Come back the legal way.

Make it impossible for anyone to hire an illegal. No benefits of any kind. I think immigrants, legal immigrants, are of great value to the country, and most welcome. There should be opportunity for temporary workers. Immigration reform should be fair and welcoming, and carefully planned to create American citizens who know our history, or laws and our ideals and want to be part of us and contribute to the country. There is no other way. Trying to be “nice” doesn’t always end up being kind.



American Government Grinds Slowly to a Halt. by The Elephant's Child

The essential battle takes place at the decision whether a free people should remain free or whether they need to be controlled and managed — for their own good, of course. At least that’s what the controllers believe. The Left has a deep need to control. You never know what a free person might decide to think, or to do.

If you are alert to this tendency, you begin to see it everywhere. Consider creativity. The government is sure that they can foster new ideas, but we see the result in all the wasteful grants hopeful government agencies make. Creativity is not a collective action. People must be free to make decisions, take action, decide.

The more government grows, the worse it gets. How many different agencies must sign off on one small piece of a project before the next one can even be considered? We started out with law to keep bad people from doing bad things. then we started making laws to tell people how to do things, and laws to tell people what things they must do and when they must do them, and what materials they must use and how many people they must hire and slowly, slowly, government grinds to a halt of its own weight, and it becomes impossible to do anything or get anything done. ‘

We have an outbreak of a deadly disease, and we find that those who were supposed to be in charge don’t know what to do. The hospitals don’t understand the protocols, the press demands that the president appoint an Ebola Czar, but nobody seems to know that there is already an Ebola Czar, and the new man knows nothing about medicine or disease and is not the Ebola Czar, although everyone keeps calling him that, he’s the Ebola Response Coordinator, and a long-time political hack who was chief of staff to both Al Gore and Joe Biden, which is not exactly a recommendation. And that is how government works today.

When you are a true believer with a managed, controlled people, you are sure that whatever problems come up will be solved by another law, or more regulation.  As the economy and the government grind more and more slowly, layer on a large dollop of political correctness so that no one will be offended by incorrect speech, add multiculturalism and race and gender to muck up the mix, and you are getting close to modern society.

When government becomes such a slow-grinding machine, what difference does it make if you reward your supporters and cronies with special projects or special funds. Who’s going to know and who’s going to do anything about it anyway. Then you have a president who, exhausted by Congress’s failure to do what he wants, simply takes matters into his own hands. Because nobody knows how to stop him.



Collectivism: “We’re All In This Together” Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

Andrew Klavan summed it up pretty well today:

Whatever its pretensions, whatever its claims, statism — progressivism, leftism, socialism — is based on the idea that a small elite intelligentsia can run your life better than you can. They know how to spend your money. They know how to educate your children. They know how to run your health care. They know how to protect you from yourself.

You do not have to talk to a statist very long before he will profess an intense dislike, distrust and even fear of ordinary people. Ordinary people spend money on what they want (TV’s restaurants and cars) rather than what the elite know they ought to want (aluminum foil climate change reversers). Ordinary people teach their children that God created the world rather than a random pattern of mathematic realities that came into being through another random pattern that came…  well, the elite know: it’s random patterns all the way down! Ordinary people will give jobs and business to those who earn them rather than those the elite, in their greater understanding, know are historically deserving because of past oppression. And so on.

Now, of course, with the very elite of the elite running the country, we find that — what do you know? — this statism dodge doesn’t really work all that well. And there are two reasons for this. The first is that the statist premise is wrong. In fact, ordinary people left at liberty to do as they will are actually better at running their lives and businesses and country than the geniuses in Washington. Central planning works great in the imaginations of the elite, but in the real world…  not so much.



Here’s Some Good News For a Change! by The Elephant's Child

The price of crude oil is tumbling downward towards $80 per barrel. The Brent crude price of $82.60 is the cheapest since 2010.”On October 1, Saudi Arabia’s  national oil company announced that it had abandoned a policy of price protection and would start to focus on protecting its market share. Combined with falling global demand and rising supplies elsewhere, oil prices have fallen accordingly.

Natural gas supplies are plentiful and warm weather so far means weak demand, which means lower costs for natural gas.

For our fracking, the break-even price is around $50-$70 bbl. Supply is bulging. Gasoline prices will come down, transportation prices will come down, which means that costs at the grocery store will ease.

States like Iran, Venezuela, and Iraq can only balance their budgets at oil prices ranging from $110 to $135 per barrel. This is good. If oil prices stay below $90 per barrel for any length of time, there will be real financial squeezes, and even regime change in Iran, Bahrain, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq or Libya and would give Vladimir Putin some real trouble. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

It’s not clear what Saudi Arabia is up to, but they are definitely not approving of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, nor of ISIS’ ambitions either. They may be just protecting their market share, as we are close to surpassing them in production.

If we start exporting natural gas to Europe, that would relax the strangle hold Russia holds over their energy supplies.

It’s good news, just when we need some.



Quarantines and Tests: Finding Out Sooner And Faster. by The Elephant's Child

The Daily Mail reports that the recommended 21-day quarantine period for the Ebola virus may not be long enough. The World Health Organization advises the 21 day quarantine, but the WHO advised on Wednesday that there is a global plague, which can cause “vomiting, marked hypocalcemia, metabolic acidosis, convulsions and , in rare cases, even death. Not Ebola, but the overconsumption of energy drinks.

In Colorado, in the Corgenix lab in Broomfield, scientists are working on a new test—called a lateral flow dipstick type test — that can identify Ebola in 10 minutes, much faster than current methods that can take three days to diagnose. The test works much like a home pregnancy test. A drop of patient’s blood is placed on a test strip, then dropped into a buffer solution. Two lines show a positive result, one line means the test is negative for Ebola. It can be used in the field, and is currently being used to detect the deadly Lassa virus in west Africa. The new test will get the green light in about a year at the earliest, depending on the government.



So We Are Fighting A Politically Correct War? by The Elephant's Child

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This last week,  Bill Gertz reported that “The Obama administration is failing to wage ideological war against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIS) terrorists over fears that attacking its religious philosophy will violate the constitutional divide between church and state, according to an in-depth inquiry by the Washington Free Beacon.”

“While the government has tried to counter terrorist propaganda, it cannot directly address the warped religious interpretations of groups like ISIL because of the constitutional separation of church and state,” said Quintan Wiktorowicz, a former White House counterterrorism strategist for the Obama administration.

“U.S. officials are prohibited from engaging in debates about Islam, and as a result will need to rely on partners in the Muslim world for this part of the ideological struggle,” he said in an email interview.

In his speech to the UN on September 24, President Obama asked the world body to come up with a plan over the next year designed to counter ISIS and al Qaeda’s ideology. He said ending religious wars through an ideological campaign in the Middle East will be “generational” and led by those who live in the region. No external power, he said, can change “hears and minds,” and as a result the U.S. would support others in the unspecified program of “counter extremist ideology.”

Because officials cannot engage in debates about Islam, it makes it a little difficult to clearly define the religious doctrine you’re talking about. And there seems to be a problem there. Statements by the president and administration spokesmen indicate that they don’t understand ISIS ideology, which would be a needed first step.

Most senior administration officials hold “post modern” or “secular” views, and as a result have almost no ability to understand the religious views of violent terrorists. If you don’t take religion seriously yourself, it is impossible to understand the philosophy of a suicide bomber or someone who cuts off peoples’ heads in the name of jihad.

Senior State Department officials have expressed the idea that ideology does not play a role in Islamist terror which comes from endemic causes like poverty and economic privation or social injustice.

The latest issue of the ISIS English-language magazine Dabiq reveals a bit of their logic. “The Islamic State has long maintained an initiative that sees it waging jihad alongside a dawah [proselytizing campaign] that actively tends to the needs of its people.” The magazine added that the group “fights to defend the Muslims, liberate their lands, and bring an end to tawaghit [the evil corrupt system]. It also sought to legitimize its mass executions, beheadings, and other atrocities as religiously justified responses to all opponents who refuse to submit to its ideology.

President Obama claimed in his September 20 anti ISIS strategy speech that the group is “not Islamic” because it kills Muslims and innocents, something he said no religion condones. A claim disputed by most experts on Islam.

The Obama administration, under pressure from domestic Muslim advocacy organizations, has adopted a politically correct approach toward Islam and terrorism that has removed talk of Islam from current policies and programs — instead they are carrying out policies under the less-specific and DHS-approved title of “countering violent extremism.” If you can’t even call something by its name, you’re not going to have much luck defeating it in the field.

The word Islam has mostly been eliminated from policies and programs, and discussing Islam has been placed out-of-bounds — which means that Islamist ideology cannot be addressed in a significant way. This leads to claims that the U.S. and the West are at war with Islam, which leaves our officialdom tongue-tied. How they have managed to conflate cutting off the heads of American journalists and aid workers with First Amendment constitutional religious issues shown nothing so much as the triumph of either fuzzy thought or no thought at all.

The terrorists, says James Glassman, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, have constructed a phony ideology and are trying to take over a whole region. The president must address that. “It is very late in the game, and he needs to devote resources, not just words, to the war of ideas.”

The administration’s point man for propaganda is Rick Stengel, a former Time magazine reporter who is now undersecretary for public diplomacy said in a recent speech “I wold say that there is no battle of ideas with ISIL. ISIL if bereft of ideas, they’re bankrupt of ideas. It’s not an organization that is animated by ideas. It’s a criminal, savage, barbaric organization.” But, oddly, recruits are flowing to ISIS, moved to join in jihad because they are inspired by their ideas.

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Armed vehicles are mostly Toyota pickups with guns mounted in the back. Not so much on ISIS bases or fighters. I don’t know if Obama is approving each strike,  as he said he might do. But we cannot say “war of ideas” and we cannot do anything to “prohibit the free exercise of religion.” Talk about fuzzy thinking!




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