American Elephants


Obama Misidentifies the Problem. Offers the Wrong Solution. by The Elephant's Child

The White House has appointed an Ebola Czar, apparently unaware that they already have an Ebola Czar — which is understandable since she, Nicole Lurie MD, MSPH did appear briefly on September 11 to tell the Washington Post that her office was diligently working with other federal agencies “to ensure that U.S. health care providers, hospitals, health clinics, emergency medical services…have the information they need to be prepared to identify and treat Ebola infections, in case anyone in the United States becomes sick after traveling from affected countries or from contact with infected individuals,”  but has otherwise been invisible.

White House petitions are exploding with people demanding a ban on travel to and from Ebola Central in West Africa. Obama’s nature is to assume this is a political problem and appoint a savvy political activist to manage affairs.

I don’t think the administration gets it. Most people are not alarmed about the possibility of catching Ebola. We are alarmed that the people who have been placed in charge of national preparation for a possible outbreak have not prepared. Hospitals may have received instructions, but they didn’t do anything. People in the know say that none of our hospitals are prepared for Ebola patients, which would seem to be confirmed that the two nurses who contracted Ebola have been transferred to Bethesda and Emory hospitals respectively, where they have the right kind of isolation for very small numbers of patients.

Most countries slapped on a travel ban in August, and their airlines don’t travel there. A ban is a ban on all travel. People have to have a passport to travel, so how do they “go underground?” The president’s objection makes no sense.

We have had one Ebola victim from west Africa, who lied to get here, knew he’d been exposed. We’ve had one Ebola death. From that one man, we have learned that the agencies in charge have squandered their funding on questionable grants, and though preparing America for just such an exigency is their one job — it didn’t get done. Yet they are attempting to blame Republicans for a non-existent lack of funding. Now we have two nurses with the virus, unknown numbers of people exposed, one exposed person isolated on a cruise ship — causing Mexico to refuse to allow the ship to dock there.

Our government has sent off 4,000 troops to deal with the epidemic in west Africa, with nobody knows what preparation, and now says they will send National Guard troops as well. The military usually takes good care of their people, but recent evidence of an inability to call terrorism by its name, inability to conduct air strikes in a significant manner, insistence that global warming is an urgent national security measure, and excessive evidence  that political correctness has become a guiding principle concerning the role of women in combat and questions of gender assignment leave us questioning the effectiveness of the Pentagon.

More and more people are being quarantined, the protocols that were “guaranteed” to protect Americans  are now being revised. Americans are not afraid of catching Ebola, or not yet. They are afraid that their government is lying to them and that their government is incompetent to deal with this kind of problem.

We have unaccompanied illegal alien children dispersed to every state in the Union, with evidence of Enterovirus D68 raging in the country. TB, which was no longer a problem in this country is back, and we don’t know what other diseases if any.

Ron-Klain-APRon Klain, President Obama’s new “Ebola Czar” is a skilled political operator. He has no background in medicine. We can assume his job is to assure the American people that the government is really, in spite of all evidence, competent. He’s there to put out the fires. We’ll see.



A Lonely Advocate Fighting For the Common Good. by The Elephant's Child

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This is Philip K. Howard, who has been a practicing attorney in Manhattan for many years, and who has been thinking deeply about the law and writing about it for twenty years. His first book, The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, was a direct hit on the body of law and regulation that dictates impossible rules that make no sense. But he doesn’t stop there, he offers solutions.

He followed that up with The Lost Art of Drawing the Line: How Fairness Went Too Far. Politically correct law has become the enemy of freedom and of the common good. Legal anxiety trumps right and wrong. What if most of us grew up with seesaws in playgrounds and want our kids to have that experience as well.
Sorry, the legal consequences of an accident are too great. The result is playgrounds that are so excruciatingly boring that the kids aren’t interested. Demanding that we be “fair” to everyone is an impossible goal. As your mother probably used to tell you — life isn’t fair.

Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Responsibility in America: was about restoring the can-do spirit that made America great. We are losing the freedom to make sense of daily choices — teachers can’t maintain order in the classroom, managers are trained to avoid candor, schools ban tag, and companies plaster inane warnings on everything: “Remove Baby Before Folding Stroller.” Why is our economy not recovering more rapidly? Where are the entrepreneurs? Facing a body of law that destroys initiative. What is at issue is the vitality of American culture.

His newest book is The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government, just out. He says that underneath the double-dealing, the polarization, the self-serving is a broken government system that produces rising debt, failing schools, overly expensive health care and economic hardship. Rules, inflexible rules, have replaced leadership, and everyone looks to the rules to know what to do or not do. Philip Howard argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law — setting goals and boundaries instead of dictating daily choices. This is not a situation to be easily defeated. Congress turns newly passed laws over to federal agencies to draw the lines and devise the regulations that will enhance and grow the bureaucracy and guarantee their jobs. Our hero Trey Gowdy speaks of the House’s job of making law — yet does not mention the job of reforming, eliminating, or repealing bad laws — a task seldom mentioned and even less often accomplished.

Each of these books is only about 200 pages, and invaluable. This is not dry lawyer talk, but real, living examples of how Law has taken over our lives, sapped our creativity, destroyed our freedom. No one is free to make choices, including government officials. An important reason why it is so difficult and expensive to start a business, and why innovation has slowed to a crawl.

Highly recommended. Great reads. And essential to understanding just what has gone wrong in our government and how we can fight back. Nobody said it was easy.



They Are Not “Undocumented People” but Illegal Aliens Who Have No Right to Be Here. by The Elephant's Child

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took issue with the term “Illegal aliens” during a Wednesday press conference. She “corrected” the reporter who used the term “illegal aliens.”

“Are you referring to undocumented people who are in the United States?” Pelosi questioned. (Can’t you just hear her? San Francisco snippy.)

The Left goes to great lengths to control the language and the words we use.  But most of us when trying to clarify meanings turn to the dictionary.

Words have meaning that is not determined by the Democratic party, but by the dictionary. In this case — Merriam Webster:

illegal, il•le•gal, adjective:  not allowed by law.
……………………………..not according to or authorized by law.

That’s pretty straightforward, and descriptive. The meaning is plain, solid fact. Do you see anything demeaning there?

alien, noun:  a person who was born in a different country and is not
………………      a citizen of the county in which he now lives. A
………………….foreign born resident who has not been naturalized
………………….and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.

Also, straightforward and accurately descriptive.

Ms. Pelosi is incorrect and the reporter was right in the first place. Don’t let the Left get away with changing the language to suit their aims. Did you know that most Americans do not want illegal alien children enrolled in our schools? They want those who have crossed the border illegally returned to their nation of origin. Over 70% of American Hispanics want the illegals sent home, according to Rasmussen surveys.

This is not mean nor cruel. We have a legal immigration system through which people can gain admission to the United States, and eventually become citizens. Whenever we allow one of Ms. Pelosi’s undocumented people to stay and vanish into the general population, or offer them benefits, or education, we are telling them and people in every other country in the world that we do not enforce our borders, we won’t do anything  to remove them, so everybody is invited.  The influx will not stop until we insist that it does. There is no other way. There are no half measures. It’s that simple.



California Enacts a Stupid Statewide Plastic Bag Ban. by The Elephant's Child

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California “Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores, driven to action by pollution in streets and waterways.” The appropriately nicknamed Governor Moonbeam has never met a liberal fad that he didn’t fall for.

Bag banning is a liberal “environmental” fad that has been running through municipal and state governments since 2007. when the first ban was enacted in San Francisco County. It is a long sad story of environmental zealots who are passionate about foreign oil or fossil fuels and saving the planet — one regulation at a time. Here’s an excerpt from a 2009 post:

The whole thing began with a misreading of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that between 1981 and 1984 more than 100,000 marine mammals were killed every year by discarded fishing nets.  The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags. In 2002, a report prepared for the Australian Government by Nolan-ITU said that the Newfoundland study attributed the deaths to “plastic bags.” But according to the Australian Government’s Environment Department website, the report was amended in 2006.

Scientists and environmentalists have questioned the case against the use of plastic shopping bags as based on flawed science and misreporting.  That hasn’t stopped governments everywhere from trying to phase out the plastic bags.  The actual report, later amended, has been widely quoted by environmentalists.  It actually attributed the deaths to all plastic debris, including fishing nets and equipment, and undoubtedly the plastic holders for six-packs.

The usual proposal bans plastic entirely, and charges 10¢ or more for each paper bag used. I shop less than once a week, use more than 20 bags, which are either reused or recycled to make more plastic bags. A science expert who advises Greenpeace admits that plastic bags pose only a minimal risk to wildlife, and the great floating island of plastic in the Pacific is a myth. The problem is that cloth bags can be quite dangerous if not washed and bleached carefully between uses.

The dark, moist, warm interior of a folded, used reusable bag is an ideal incubator for bacteria when it has been infected with a small amount of water and trace food contamination. Leaking meat wrappings, water from moist produce, cracked eggs or leaking dairy containers are the fuel for elevated bacterial counts.

Here is the abstract from a 2012 study from the Social Science Research Network:

Recently, many jurisdictions have implemented bans or imposed taxes upon plastic grocery bags on environmental grounds. San Francisco County was the first major US jurisdiction to enact such a regulation, implementing a ban in 2007. There is evidence, however, that reusable grocery bags, a common substitute for plastic bags, contain potentially harmful bacteria. We examine emergency room admissions related to these bacteria in the wake of the San Francisco ban. We find that ER visits spiked when the ban went into effect. Relative to other counties, ER admissions increase by at least one fourth, and deaths exhibit a similar increase.
Food borne illness can kill you.

And if you are curious about why so many cities and states try to legislate such bans, I wrote about that in 2009 as well.

The Center for Climate Strategies was founded in 2004 by environmental activist groups as a state-based-strategy to avoid open political debate.  It depends instead on having the full range of left-wing pressure groups—feminists, abortion rights groups, animal rights activists, labor organizers and other leftist factions to make “climate change” part of their message and mission.

Well funded by left-wing foundations, they approach state governments by claiming to offer governors objective expertise. Though they claim policy neutrality, their mission is to get states to adopt global warming policies reducing greenhouse gas emissions (CO2).  In reality, this enables state governors to outsource formulation of state policies to the liberal foundations and interest groups that stand behind CCS.  Here is further information about the Center for Climate Strategies.

Green zealots don’t leave these matters to chance and the whims of governments. They are helpful with dog-and-pony shows, experts, plans, and strategies, and are well-funded by liberal foundations. For cities, the helpful environmental experts are ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. When you see the label “sustainability” you know it’s another Leftist power grab.



ISIS Is Recruiting Openly in American Mosques. The FBI Has Been Forbidden To Use Religion to Monitor Them. by The Elephant's Child

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical to our nation’s security. There is no other non-governmental group that has better intelligence or data on the threat to the United States and our allies. Making do with a bare bones budget, the IPT is a national treasure whose influence and achievements are unparalleled.

That is from U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It is not an exaggeration to say that because of Democrat political correctness hamstringing our FBI agents, they could not combat the Islamists in our midst without Steven Emerson. The former head of FBI Investigations and Counter-Terrorism said “The Investigative Project has been one of the most important sources of accurate and timely information on the real goals and objectives of the widespread and powerful Islamist movement.”

Emerson said “Isis is Al Qaeda 3.0. They are already in the United States and the only reason there has not been a terror attack is that they have not decided to do it yet.”

The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year. And so therefore, there is… a definite problem now in investigating those militants in the United States who are either recruiting for ISIS or have returned from Syria or Iraq having fought for ISIS, and are ready to carry out freelance or directed terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS against the United States…

the Department of Justice [which] put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland.

…we’re seeing ISIS recruiting biophysicists, engineers, social media types, people who have expertise in really carrying out sophisticated terrorist attacks coming back to the United States.

Emerson says there are three to four hundred ISIS killers in Syria and Iraq with American passports, who can return whenever they want and the Obama administration has blocked the FBI from monitoring them in mosques. Obama will do nothing to revoke the passports of those who have gone to fight with ISIS, and has forbidden the FBI from using Religion to identify terror threats.  Political correctness gone amok. I hope we do not have to pay too heavy a price.



Don’t Know Much About Our Country, Unprepared to Vote. by The Elephant's Child

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The disturbing news that only 36 percent of Americans polled can name the three branches of our government surfaced in the wake of national Constitution Day last Wednesday. That’s from a new survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Only 38 percent of Americans knew the Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, 17 percent thought the Democrats are still in charge. Just 38 percent know that Democrats run the Senate while 30 percent believe Republicans control the Senate. Only 27 percent knew it takes a 2/3 majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.

Annenberg released the survey in partnership with the Civics Renewal Network, a group of 25 nonpartisan organizations including the Library of Congress, the Newseum and the National Archives that offer free civics education resources.

Another Group, the Civics Education Initiative, is pushing to require more civics education in high schools by requiring students to pass the same citizenship test that immigrants do when they come to the U.S. That group will introduce legislation in seven states that would require passing the citizenship test before you could graduate from high school.

The sample questions in the article in the link have little to do with the Constitution and apparently new citizens are asked up to 10 civics questions from a list of 100. You must correctly answer six questions to pass the civics portion. Oh please, could we possibly make it easier? Get serious. If the Washington Post representation is accurate, it should be a lot harder.

And we should certainly be ensuring that graduating high school seniors actually know something about their country.  Bring back Schoolhouse Rock!



What If You Have A Party and Nobody Comes? by The Elephant's Child

World leaders are expected to meet as at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 21 to announce plans for reducing carbon emissions. Unfortunately, world leaders are staying home. It’s turning into a bit of an embarrassment for President Obama and UN Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott can’t make it because he has a country to run. Chinese President XI Jinping and new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also indicated they won’t attend. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending. And even Angela Merkel, President of very, very green Germany just can’t make it.

Well, some people do pay attention to the news. The Antarctic ice is at the greatest extent ever measured. Arctic ice is expansive and growing. There has been no warming at all, none, for seventeen years and eleven months. We’ve had snow in September in the northern Midwest and New England. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to grow—which supposedly means that world climate is getting warmer—but the climate is not getting warmer, but cooler.  So possibly the increase in the benign gas that we exhale each time we breathe, the one that is a natural fertilizer for plants, is not the cause of the 1º of warming that occurred over the last hundred years? Well, yes. Exactly.

The sun, which does have a lot to do with climate, has gone quiet, and all the vast dollars and crony capitalism that have gone into finding an alternative source of energy in solar and wind energy has been for naught? Yep.

“There is essentially zero evidence that carbon dioxide from human activities is causing catastrophic climate change:” Australian geologist Dr. Bob Carter.

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry warns of decades of possible global cooling: Suggests the “current cool phase will continue until the 2030s.”

Leonardo DiCaprio: “How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet.”

Nancy  Pelosi: “Republicans winning the Senate would be the end of civilization.”

Activist green groups are drumming up a way to use the federal courts to force Americans to drastically reduce their energy consumption whether or not Obama signs a new climate change treaty in Paris next year.

The EPA plans to propose and finalize regulations establishing first-ever carbon dioxide (CO²) regulations for jet aircraft.

The Obama administration is reading the Clean Air Act to require a climate policy never intended or approved by Congress, and intends to negotiate an international agreement that would not survive a Senate vote on ratification.

Green organizations are planning a big climate march in conjunction with the UN Climate meeting. They are concerned about “climate justice” which seems to have nothing to do with climate (which they can’t affect anyway) and everything to do  with ‘justice” which seems to be about putting the people in charge, destroying large corporations, and redistributing income. They are particularly interested in the particular large corporations who extract energy from Mother Earth and use it to power civilization, but that is secondary to “justice.”

Emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act show that Obama’s EPA is in collusion with “green” lobby groups — the report details the conflicts of interest, “unalterably closed minds,” internal activism and influence of outside interest groups on the Obama Administration EPA. Documents raise questions about the legality of EPA rules.

The EPA also wants to garnish your wages if they accuse you of something, without any court order. How do they get that power? They just announce that they have it. That is apparently the way that some 30 government agencies have granted themselves the power to garnish your wages.  There are more problems with big government that we ever knew.




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