American Elephants


There They Go Again! Democrats Try to Shut You Up! by The Elephant's Child

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Friday night news dump. As the media went home for the weekend, the Democrats sneaked in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on the internet. They have in mind sites like YouTube, blogs, and the Drudge Report. Why? You can go to YouTube and watch campaign commercials, and even worse, find things that President Obama and other politicians said in the past, and demonstrate their constant overweening hypocrisy.  There’s no telling what awful things you will find on blogs, and the Drudge Report is simply an aggregator of news from — the media.

The problem, of course, is the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, most especially political speech. We cannot be a free people without free political speech. First thing you know, they will put you in jail for criticizing the president, or shut your business down, or subject you to an IRS audit.

Obama FEC Commissioner Ann M. Ravel announced that the FED was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns and other content on the web. She insisted that “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue.”

Well, not exactly. The First Amendment was made permanent back in December of 1791, and has served us very well indeed, although the totalitarian sector of the Democratic Party keeps trying to get rid of it.

Democrats really don’t like criticism or being disagreed with. They have trouble defending their ideas, because they just say things, and have never, never done their homework. Rather than studying up on a policy and its inevitable consequences, they just want to pass it into law, and think that if there are problems, they’ll just add some regulations or make more laws. Evidence for that statement? I give you ObamaCare.

The vision of the left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so visceraly to those who challenge their vision. ………………………………………….Tom Sowell 1/22/2014

FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said that if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. “I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now,” Goodman told FoxNews.com. “And today’s statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings.”

FEC Vice Chair Ravel said:

Since its inception, this effort to protect individual bloggers and online commentators has been stretched to cover slickly-produced ads aired solely on the Internet but paid for by the same organizations and the same large contributors as the actual ads aired on TV,” she said. Ravel vowed to “bring together” people from “across the spectrum” next year to look at the issue.

This set off alarm bells, as it should.

“The FEC’s approach to free speech on the Internet should be hands-off,” Goodman said, urging the public to go to the FEC website to comment on the issue.



Ron Klain Is Not “The Ebola Czar,” He’s “The Ebola Response Coordinator.” by The Elephant's Child

Correction: According to the White House, Ron Klain is not to be “the Ebola Czar.” He’s something else, and will report to Susan Rice. I do not find that encouraging. My impression is that Obama thinks Ebola is a political problem, probably created by Republicans, and he needs someone who is good at putting out political fires. If Susan Rice is an effective National Security adviser, It has not been evident in her public commentary nor in the Obama administration foreign policy.

President Obama is selling the new position as an “Ebola Response Coordinator” to restore order and manage operations across government. This would seem to require some familiarity with epidemiology and federal assets like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Klain’s resume does not extend much beyond his stints as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden , unless you count his job quarterbacking the Solyndra fiasco as no big deal. …

Then again, anonymous White House aides are telling the press corps that Mr. Klain’s partisan skills as a fixer are a credential. This may be the best indication to date of how Mr. Obama regards the dangers of the Ebola crisis, with risks to his own approval ratings near the top. Maybe three-star commander Valerie Jarrett can next prosecute the air war against Islamic State, if she isn’t already.

Mr. Klain’s resume is not encouraging.. He is said to be bright, but deeply involved in the backroom politics of the Democrat Party. He has no medical or health care background, but is closely associated with the Democracy Alliance and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The statement of purpose for the appointment says he is “to restore order and manage operations” across government. I don’t know what “order” he is to restore, but operations seem not to need managing, but learning. American hospitals are unprepared to deal with just one patient, and the results of not understanding the protocols is a multiplication of patients. Obama just doesn’t get it at all.



Ebola: What to Do, What Not to Do. Understanding the Problems. by The Elephant's Child

International agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) run by the United Nations have become an international irrelevance. The failures of the Centers for Disease Control are disturbing, though they are supposed to be run by the government’s finest. Protocols supposedly put in place months ago were not observed, those exposed were “self monitoring” for symptoms. They weren’t supposed to be traveling on public transportation, and yet did. And it’s fairly clear that people possibly exposed were simply not taking quarantine seriously. Maybe seriously up until it was inconvenient, but then ignored.

There is a clear desire on the part of our government to prevent panic, but apparently little knowledge of how that is accomplished. Evidence that the agency has done their homework, and know what they are talking about is central. If people believe that you don’t know what you are talking about, your usefulness is over. Protocols that simply ask where people are coming from and take their temperature are, according to knowledgeable people, useless, since elevated temperatures are common and not diagnostic. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Since the 1990s, the WHO has gradually transformed itself from a disease fighter to what Dr. Chan calls “a normative agency” that makes international public health rules and promotes political goals like universal coverage. “That represented a very significant change over prior WHO policies,” says Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations, who calls the WHO’s response to the epidemic “just shameful.”

Doctors without borders (Médicins Sans Frontiéres), the international aid agency, is recommended as having set the gold standard for Ebola safety, yet 16 of their staff members who have risked their lives in West Africa are infected, and nine have died. The U.S is providing $142 million in aid to the organization.

Paul Sperry reports at Investors that Muslim burial rituals may be to blame for much of the spread of Ebola. The body of an Ebola victim can be more dangerous in death than in life. 73% of Sierra Leone’s and 85% of Guinea’s people are Muslim. Islam is practiced by more than 13% of Liberians.

When a Muslim dies, family members do not turn to a funeral home or crematorium to take care of the body. Relatives personally wash the corpses of loved ones from head to toe. Several family members may participate in this posthumous bathing ritual, known as Ghusl.

Before scrubbing the skin with soap and water, family members press down on the abdomen to excrete fluids still in the body. A mixture of camphor and water is used for a final washing. Then, family members dry off the body and shroud it in white linens.

Again, washing the bodies of the dead in this way is considered a collective duty for Muslims, especially in Muslim nations. Failure to do so is believed to leave the deceased “impure” and jeopardizes the faithful’s ascension into Paradise (unless he died in jihad; then no Ghusl is required). Before the body is buried, Muslims attending the funeral typically pass a common bowl for use in ablution or washing of the face, feet and hands, compounding the risk of infection.

Though these customs are prescribed by Sharia law, they’re extremely dangerous and should be suspended. Mosque leaders must step in to educate village Muslims about the dangers of interacting with corpses.

The practice has led to the spread of the disease. Families must be helped to understand why some practices cannot be done because they place others at risk.

Last month, Red Cross workers in Guinea were attacked by family members while trying to bury Ebola dead safely. In Sierra Leone, moreover, a family took Ebola-ridden bodies secured in body bags from the Red Cross, opened them up and exposed all members of the family to Ebola. They all contracted the disease.

The UN warns that the spread must be contained within 60 days or the infection rate can jump from 1,000 a week to 10,000 a week. Saudi Arabia, the center of Islam,  has banned pilgrims from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

President Obama argues that  ban on travel would do more harm than good, because travelers “might go underground.” Now he’s talking about sending National Guard troops in addition to the 4.000 U.S. Military already there. The military had better take very great care of our troops, and see that none get infected.

 



The Kids Don’t Like Michelle’s Healthy Lunches. by The Elephant's Child

American children have responded to Michelle Obama” healthy lunches by dumping their full trays into the garbage bins. School boards are demanding that the Obama administration relax the standards.

  • 83.7 percent of school districts have seen an increase in plate waste.
  • 81.8 percent had an increase in cost.
  • 76.5percent saw a decrease in participation by students.
  • 75 percent of school leaders want an increase in federal funding for school districts to comply with requirements.
  • 60.3 percent want flexibility for school districts to improve their ability to provide good nutrition, without harm to other operations.

This is National School Lunch Week.  The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act calls for limits on fat, sugar and salt and a higher use of whole grains and veggies. The administration is quite sure it’s just not presenting them correctly. There are calorie limits for each meal, which I believe are the same for the 7 year-old and the 240 lb. football linebacker in high school. (That doesn’t seem possible).

Schools are urged to invite a legislator to lunch, or members of the press. There are special coloring sheets, word searches, crossword puzzles and more for the students to celebrate National School Lunch Week. Schools can win packets of stickers. There are tee shirts and aprons, posters and balloons and buttons.

Schools are urged to ask members of their staff if they would be interested in dressing up in different sports costumes for lunch. Add sports decorations to lunch lines. Rename some of your menu staples like ‘Touchdown Tacos, Fastball Fruit Salad, or Half-Time Hamburgers. Take pictures of your students enjoying lunchtime. Send them to the SNA Facebook page, but remember to get media release forms signed first. Ask local high school or college athletes to come in uniform to eat lunch with the younger kids.

That should do it.

School_Lunchschool-lunch   The left believes that to accomplish a good purpose, all you have to do is pass a law. They always forget that their prized laws affect real people.

 

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School Lunches

 

 

 

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ADDENDUM: Here’s another picture of a school lunch, as prescribed by Michelle Obama’s lunch program. Parents are furious. Some kids have the option of bringing a lunch from home , but many children depend on school lunches.This is pretty meager, unappetizing fare.

 



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.



The New York Times is Astonished At Republican Concern About Secret Service Failings by The Elephant's Child

The New York Times, the “paper of record,”is apparently astonished to find Republicans, who regularly criticize the president, showing concern for Secret Service failings in protecting the president and the White House. They assume that is merely a political ploy of some sort. They hate Republicans, want them permanently defeated, jailed, put in camps, killed, gone. They are unable to tolerate dissent, and believe that Republicans hate the president, and not only that, hate him because he is black. That is the theme they try to impress on blacks. If we don’t like the president’s policies, then we must wish him dead? Astonishing.

The headline today was “Showing Concern for the President, Even While Criticizing Him.” Even?

President Obama must be touched by all the concern Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security.

“The American people want to know: Is the president safe?” Representative Darrell Issa of California, the Republican committee chairman who has made it his mission to investigate all sorts of Obama administration missteps, solemnly intoned as he opened a hearing into the lapses on Tuesday.

Yet it would not be all that surprising if Mr. Obama were a little wary of all the professed sympathy. Although the target of the legislative scrutiny is the Secret Service, not the president, the furor over security has left the White House on the defensive.

The American Interest noticed as well “GOP Taking Advantage of Events to Make WH Look Incompetent?”

Those horrible, mean, nasty Republicans are apparently “using” the revelations that the Secret Service isn’t being managed very well to create an impression of general incompetence at the White House. Here’s the money graph from the New York Times:

So unfair! Botch the public rollout of your most important domestic political program, fail to reform the VA after campaigning on a promise to do exactly that, and then make serial misjudgments about world affairs while Russia launches a war against Ukraine even as the U.S. goes back into Iraq—and those awful Republicans start a whisper campaign about your competence. Right before midterms, too! Have they no shame?

I am very critical of the president’s policies, and the Democrat Party’s policies. I believe they are responsible for the worst economic recovery ever.  The recent recession was not the worst recession since the Great Recession of the 1930s. It ended, officially, in 2009. ObamaCare is a badly conceived disaster. Immigration is an unfolding disaster. Federal agencies are corrupt and show no signs of improvement. Foreign policy is one misjudgment after another. I think Obama was unprepared for the office and mistook his ability to sway audiences with his speeches for qualification for the highest office. But I don’t hate him personally. I don’t wish him harm. I don’t know of any Republicans who do. I oppose his ideology with all my being, but he is the president, and I respect the office.

Democrats hated George W. Bush and wanted him dead, because he was a Republican and because he was president. They hated everything about him. They said so. They hated the way he walked. They hated the way he talked. They hated his “squint.” They hated that he was from Texas. Doubt me? Here is the evidence, if you have forgotten.




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