American Elephants


Is it Our Actions That Are To Blame, Or Our Perceptions? by The Elephant's Child

The folks at Reason offer up an explanation for our political problems, in one simple, devastating graph.  Read it and weep! (click to enlarge)

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Solid Evidence of a Cover-up, And More to Come… by The Elephant's Child

Speaker John Boehner has agreed to a select committee on Benghazi with the revelations of Ben Rhodes e-mails, and he has named Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) as chairman. As Boehner said:

With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability, and justice. Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come. His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel. I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration. I plan to ensure he and his committee have the strongest authority possible to root all the facts.”

Democrats reacted with a primal scream. Nobody’s interested in this. Nobody cares. A political witch hunt. A kangaroo court to discredit President Obama. Grossly unfair. Republicans just want to attack Hillary. Dude, that was two years ago. Old tired past history. Stop looking at this. You’re just playing politics with something nobody cares about.

Democrats may boycott the hearings as a tactic—risky though. They can cite their boycott as a way to discredit the effort— which is the whole ballgame for them.

At the very least, this is a vast government cover-up, something last seen in the Watergate scandal. But Watergate was only about covering up illegal acts by aides, that were not unusual by D.C. standards. Democrats had a wonderful time making it the crime of the century. But nobody died in the whole Watergate episode. In Benghazi, an ambassador was killed, and brave Seals who saved some thirty lives, fought on for seven hours, calling, begging for help—from a government that refused to respond.

Here’s Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) with the party line:



Democrats Care About “People Like Me.” by The Elephant's Child

obama photo -op

When people express their political preferences, at least according to the polls, they identify the Democratic Party as the one that “cares about people like me,” or “cares about little people,” or “ordinary people.”

Republicans are apt to react to that with jaw-dropping astonishment. Isn’t it obvious that they couldn’t care less, that all the caring speech is just a pose? Well, no it isn’t, and that is a problem for Republicans. It’s pure politics.

President Obama had an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun this weekend that really demonstrates the problem. And it may well be an essay that represents his sincere thinking. Democrats are not inclined to investigate the economics of a policy, nor consider carefully the unintended consequences. Politicians like to describe their ideas in prose that will make what they want to do as appealing as possible, so you can’t tell what Obama really believes by reading what he says.

“Honest work should be rewarded with honest wages” — whatever that means—if anything, sounds good, but just what is an “honest wage?” He continues: “That certainly means that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.” And that is true. No one who works full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour qualifies as being “in poverty.” The poverty level for an individual in 2014 is $11,670.

It is meant to be a “starter” wage for a person with no real skills, and that’s why it’s not worth much. The low-skilled need training. The majority get a raise within six months, as they become trained workers who know what they are doing. The federal minimum wage differs from the prevailing minimum wage in some locations, and states too have “minimum wages.”   The minimum wage where I live is $9.25 an hour. Seattle is debating raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The president’s proposal would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016 in three annual steps. Republicans argue that this will kill jobs, because if government boosts the cost of labor, employers will buy less of it, and it will do little to reduce poverty. The CBO estimates that the higher minimum wage would reduce jobs by about 500,000. Wage increases would raise the incomes of families in poverty by about $300 annually.

Robert Samuelson says: “An administration serious about job creation has to sacrifice other priorities to achieve it.” The CBO has estimated that the health insurance subsidies in ObamaCare will discourage people from working resulting in a loss of an estimated 2.5 million full-time workers by 2014. There are choices. For the most part the White House has voted against job creation, a fact that it tries to hide. The proposed increase is much larger than most of the increases that have been studied, and the minimum would be indexed to inflation, rising automatically with prices. Also new.

The minimum wage has a great advantage as a political idea. If employers are forced to pay a  “living wage” then no one will live in poverty. Low-information voters and reporters will go for that. Easy.

ObamaCare has been eliminating full-time jobs right and left, and transforming them into part-time jobs. A mandated minimum wage set at a level above what unskilled labor is worth, eliminates jobs. Teenage unemployment is now at 20.7 percent, black teenage unemployment is a horrendous 38 percent. The average family income of minimum wage earners is $48,000 a year. Raising the minimum wage accelerates the trend to automation and robotics.

If you can. go back and read the president’s op-ed and see how appealing it is, and how dishonest. That’s a major problem for Conservatives.

The picture above is Obama’s photo-op comforting Donna Vanzant, whose North Point Marina sustained widespread damage in Hurricane Sandy. Obama promised her “immediate” assistance, help from FEMA, and the photo went viral in the days before the election. Donna Vanzant suffered around $500,000 in damages. After his visit, and promise of help on national television, Donna Vanzant sent an email to President Obama. Many days later, she got a response—a form letter that thanked her for supporting the troops—the only response she ever received.  The exit polls after the election showed the vote for Obama’s second term depended mostly on his compassionate response to Hurricane Sandy.



All About the Photo ID Controversy: by The Elephant's Child

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The Justice Department is hell bent on preventing any state from requiring photo identification in order to vote. They attempt to claim that it is just like the poll tax, once required by Southern Democrats in Southern states to prevent blacks from voting.

Since you can get a photo ID in any state for free from the DMV, you need a photo ID to open a bank account, to cash a check, to buy an airplane ticket, to get benefits from the government, the claim seems more than a little specious. A photo ID is required to enter the Washington DC Justice Department building. The Justice Department’s claims should be laughed out of court, so to speak. It is a blatant, partisan effort to make minorities think that Republican want to keep them from voting, and Democrats want to ensure their right to vote. Embarrassing.



Here He Goes Again — Delaying 2015 Enrollment Till After the Election. by The Elephant's Child

With all the revelations about ObamaCare, the terrifying escalation of costs for an individual health care policy and the accompanying drastically larger deductibles, Democrats are plainly worried about the 2014 midterms. So the Obama administration is back to its old tried and true tricks.

Health and Human Services plans to delay the start of the second year of Obamacare enrollment by one month to allow insurers more time to set rates after assessing their plan experiences during 2014, a department official said Thursday night.

The decision means that sign-ups for the 2015 plan year would begin on Nov. 15, 2014 and end on Jan. 15, 2015 instead of the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 window previously announced. The date change, first reported by Bloomberg, also lengthens the enrollment period by a week. Doing so would give companies more opportunity to account for individuals, particularly young adults, who come in late during the plan’s first year, which has gotten off to a rocky start. The goal is premiums that more accurately reflect costs for those insured.

The new calendar would move the start of the 2015 open enrollment season to shortly after the November midterm elections.

This is nonsense. Insurers calculate the changes from the previous year every year in setting new rates. They haven’t forgotten how to do it just because of Kathleen Sebelius. So far the federal government has been unable to convince healthy young consumers to buy comprehensive health insurance they don’t need, to pay for everyone else. This will force premium increases on everyone else to pay for the lack of the young.  Letting people know how much the ObamaCare policies they are being forced to buy are going to cost them just before an election is, um, unfortunate timing. Which of the Chicago bunch was it who said “elections are too important to be left to chance?”

Employer-provided group health insurance  is where costs will either skyrocket, or consumers will be kicked out of their group coverage altogether. There’s going to be a lot of outrage when it hits home for company employees.

I used to consider government departments as often inept as all bureaucracies are, but not as agencies involved in attempting to change election outcomes by manipulating data and calendars and changing regulations. Americans traditionally and rightly don’t place a lot of trust in their government. They really do work for us — and you have to keep an eye on your employees.

This president, however, has gone to extraordinary lengths to politicize government departments to achieve his political aims. What the long-term damage to the country will be, we will learn in coming years. That there will be long-term damage is assured.



The Obama Administration Faked the Census Numbers? Really? by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration has faked the census numbers that are used to compile unemployment statistics, in the period before the 2012 election.

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

Granted, these numbers are careful estimates, but the figures are used by economists, financial institutions, hedge funds, state/private pension funds, and other governments base policy, predictions, expectations and invest real dollars based on those numbers. It is, as Joe Biden would say, a big #*!# deal! A knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond one employee, and escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012, and continues today.

Headline: 23 Million Unemployed is Not a Recovering Economy!, 10/7/2012

The labor participation rate is down to 1981 levels. Of the 114,000 new jobs last month, only 104,000 were in the private economy. The number that had a lot of people suspicious was the giant 873,000 leap in employment as measured by “the household survey.” That’s the biggest one-month increase in nearly 30 years, which does deserve an explanation. …

A lot of knowledgeable people were wondering if the Obama administration was, um, cooking the books. Robert Gibbs, former press secretary, appeared on the Sunday shows to say he was ‘shocked, shocked, that anyone would think that the administration manipulated the numbers. And yes, it is shocking that anyone would think that, but that is the kind of suspicion that this president’s lawlessness and executive orders and presidential proclamations have led us to.

Other things going on in October 2012: “The White House has moved to prevent defense and other government contractors from issuing mass layoff notices in anticipation of sequestration, notices which they must, according to law, send to workers deemed reasonably  be likely to lose their jobs sixty days before they will be let go. The White House wants defense contractors to keep the layoffs secret and the contracting agencies would cover  any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could follow. The spending cuts would take effect January 2, 2013—$109 billion.”

And there was this one: Obama Economy Fashion Statement 10/7/2012, which I rather liked. There was also Benghazi, Obama performed horribly in a debate, and the Democrats interviewed the man who picked up the garbage from the Romney’s La Jolla house, and the CBO reported another $1 trillion+ deficit for 2012. Military Times reported a concerted effort to keep military votes from being counted or even received. “Mr Obama claims we are adding jobs every month, but for every person added to the labor force, ten drop out. That is not progress.

It would seem that promises of “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” are not an isolated aberration, but a longstanding pattern of lies. What is important for Liberals is winning, and you do what is necessary to make that happen. For the man who was elected to the Senate on the basis of miraculously having “sealed” divorce records opened for public perusal, it’s just what we should have expected.

October 12, 2012: Jack Welch, famed former CEO of General Electric provoked outrage when he suggested that the White House had manipulated September job numbers for political gains.  Chris Matthews was simply beside himself.  But Jack Welch was right!



Bwa ha ha hahahaha by The Elephant's Child

phonyscandals

(Click to Enlarge)

“…with an endless parade of distractions, political posturing
and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye
off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop.
This needs to stop.”




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