American Elephants

Obama’s Presidential Library Will Be In Chicago by The Elephant's Child

Former President Barack Obama has unveiled the design and vision for his Presidential Center. It’s to be on the South Side of Chicago and do some neighborhood revitalization as well as a park, and a hub for artists like Springsteen, Chance the Rapper and Spike Lee. A lagoon will have paddle boats and skating in the winter, and Michelle wants a sledding hill, something she always wanted growing up there.

“What we want this to be is the world premiere institution for training young people in leadership to (help them) make a difference in their communities, in their country and in their world,” he said.

Tiger Woods is to design a golf course. But the presidential library will probably be somewhere else. Presidential Libraries (there are only 13 of them) are usually places where scholars can go to study the presidential papers, but this one is apparently going to be more of a celebration of the first African-American president, and the dry old papers will have to go somewhere else. Well, good luck to them, and I hope it does revitalize the neighborhood. There have been a lot of murders in the area, and the Obamas hope the Center will  help. The cost is paid for by private donations, but once built, the upkeep is paid by taxpayers.

I have read that those who once ran for the presidency have a hard time getting over it. Hillary clearly cannot get over her loss, and eleven months later she is still whining about her defeat.  It’s apparently very hard to leave the limelight. Jimmy Carter just offered to go to North Korea to talk to Kim Jong Un to use his famous peacekeeping ability, I guess. Obama’s presidential edifice will be a monument to his considerable ego, and the papers will be off in some dusty corner of the University of Chicago or in some other building. FDR had the first Presidential Library, and he had a considerable ego too. I’m not sure that they shouldn’t just settle for a statue. It’s getting to be a bit of a competition to see whose is grandest.


Trump Made an Excellent Call on UNESCO by The Elephant's Child
October 16, 2017, 6:22 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

President Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). This is a good thing. UNESCO’s corruption is legendary, they are anti Israel, susceptible to Soviet influence and granted the Palestinian Authority full membership. National Review documented their anti-Israel bias.

In 2012, UNESCO declared the Church of the Nativity to be a World Heritage Site in Danger, ignoring the objections of the U.S., Israel, and the three churches that preside over it. That was a victory for the Palestinians, who claim Bethlehem as their own and say that Israel endangers the site. The next year, the organization’s executive board issued six condemnations of Israel (and honored Che Guevara, the Communist mercenary). It announced in 2016 that the Temple Mount had no connection to Judaism, referring to it only as the “Al-Aqsa Mosque”: The Wailing Wall became the “Buraq Plaza,” and Israel the “occupying power” in Jerusalem.

UNESCO’s stated mission is to promote peace and security, but in practice it is just another international institution giving shelter to the world’s ugliest ideas.

The President said he hoped they would reform so the U.S. could rejoin the organization, but that is unlikely.

Fixing ObamaCare, One Small Step At A Time by The Elephant's Child
October 15, 2017, 6:39 am
Filed under: Politics

The Republican Congress’s had long promised to repeal ObamaCare, but when push came to shove, it didn’t happen. The Trump administration is working to overhaul the American health care system without the help of Congress. Naturally the media is screaming about the poor and dead children, but ObamaCare was always a deeply ill-advised scheme intended to force the country into single-payer insurance, giving the government ultimate control of the people’s health—and consequently forcing the people to vote for Democrats or lose their health care.

What happened is that the Obama administration was unable to resist lots of control of the Affordable Care Act, for physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies, and a number of the controls simply didn’t work. They decided, for example, that a doctor’s appointment should last for 7 minutes. Over the course of his first months in office, President Trump signed an executive order to allow groups to purchase insurance across state lines, entering competition into the program and saving money. He rolled back funding for a program intended to help individuals navigate the insurance market, and stopped federal funding for ObamaCare subsidies.

The administration announced late Thursday that it was ending a  program that was illegally reimbursing insurers for CSRs—or cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers. Congress refused to appropriate money for that program, so Obama just did it by executive order, and sent the money to insurers, which was illegal. A federal court even ruled so. Another executive action instructs regulators to allow small employers to band together to offer their employees insurance — the same freedom enjoyed by large companies. A third action loosens the rules on short-term health insurance, making it possible for it to be renewable. Depending on how this develops it could pull young and healthy people out of ObamaCare exchanges.

These actions all underscore a weakness of Obamacare. It limits choices and raises premiums, but makes it impossible to address these problems without threatening other parts of it. Its proper functioning requires policymakers to give it subsidies and write regulations to close off avenues by which consumers could escape it — even when the statute itself does not require these regulations or fund these subsidies; even when the additional support violates the Constitution.

Even before these actions, liberals were crying that Trump was undermining Obamacare by limiting open-enrollment periods and cutting back on outreach to get people to sign up. Perhaps a law that requires its opponents to nurture it was not especially well-designed?

The thing that Democrats don’t care to admit is that ObamaCare is in the process of collapsing anyway. When your insurance company announces that they are going to raise the cost of your premiums by 41% consumers will escape. That’s just how it works in the real world. If you are interested in Single-payer insurance, look into what the British papers have been exposing for years. Slashed budgets mean that old folks die of dehydration or neglect in the hospital. Ambulances park outside hospitals with their patients because they can’t accept more patients immediately.

Margaret Thatcher: No Such Thing as Public Money by The Elephant's Child
October 14, 2017, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Here’s Margaret Thatcher to reiterate the simple fact that there is no such thing as public money, or as I keep saying: The government has no money of its own. Every time someone wants the government to do something for them, that amount comes proportionately out of your pocket.

We’ve just had a series of devastating hurricanes, with lots of help from FEMA to set things right. Part of the cost usually comes from the states, but the states don’t have any money of their own either. Puerto Rico is a special problem because of years of Democrat mismanagement which has left the island bankrupt. But they need help and FEMA is there as is the U.S. Army, getting help to areas that can no longer be reached by road. They need simple food and water, and it’s hard to get it to them, and the power is out and may continue to be out for some time. Now it seems that some of the politicians  representing those areas have been funneling the supplies to their friends to distribute to their friends …and so it goes.

We’ve  had Harvey in Texas, Irma, José, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, and now Ophelia which is circling up the Atlantic and may hit Ireland directly. Ireland is not accustomed to tropical hurricanes.

Of Course They Are Fighting Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

Here in Washington State, our Governor, Jay Inslee, released a statement today on the EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan:

By repealing the Clean Power Plan, President Trump and his EPA administrator are recklessly removing any meaningful, science-based federal restraint on the carbon pollution that power plants are allowed to pump into our atmosphere. The United States Supreme Court has ruled on three separate occasions that the EPA has a responsibility, under the Clean Air Act and other federal laws, to protect American communities from harmful carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan was constructed to give states the flexibility to choose its own path to a clean energy future, and hold each state responsible for reducing carbon pollution. This decision by the EPA instead rejects science and directly threatens Americans’ health and well-being.

Washington state is already feeling the harmful and costly effects of climate change – in more devastating wildfire seasons, strained water resources, increasingly acidic coastal waters, and more. And we are taking action to respond: at my direction, the Washington State Department of Ecology has implemented the nation’s first Clean Air Rule, to limit carbon pollution from our state’s largest sources. We are investing in new clean energy technologies – fueling jobs and business growth in an area with tremendous economic opportunity. We are partnering with other states – through the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance – to fill the void left by the Trump Administration’s total abdication of American leadership.

This action by the EPA is a setback in the struggle against climate change, but it will not and cannot stop Washington state and our determined allies in the fight against this existential threat.

Climate change has nothing to do with wildfire or strained water resources, the coastal waters are not increasingly acidic. “Clean energy” from sun and wind does not create jobs and business growth. Wind is intermittent and does not blow steadily enough to be a valid source of energy, and solar energy is too diffuse. Countries like Germany that got very involved with clean energy to keep the climate from changing, are finding that the result has been a spiraling cost of energy, and a lot of energy poverty among the people who can’t afford to keep their houses warm.

Governor Inslee is allied with Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown who is blaming the horrific wildfires now burning up the wine district and whatever else is in the direction the wind is blowing—on, of course, climate change.

California Gov. Jerry Brown warns that catastrophic wildfires will keep ripping through the state as the climate warms. …

He said a warming climate has contributed to catastrophic wildfires. “That’s the way it is with a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture.” said Brown. “These kind of catastrophes have happened and they’ll continue to happen, and we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate.”

The governor has positioned himself as a leader in the fight against climate change.

No wonder Leftist governors like to “position themselves” as “leaders in the fight against climate change.” It gives them a vast cause which they are powerless to fight, but is readily available to absorb all the blame for whatever is going wrong. I wonder if he’ll figure out a way to assign the immense cost overruns and pointless high-speed rail to climate change.  They don’t even have to know anything about climate science, the effectiveness of “clean energy” sources, or even what could possibly be involved in climate change if it were real. It’s just a perfect dumping ground for whatever catastrophe Mother Nature has in store for us. San Francisco’s air quality is off the charts—climate change. Wine country won’t e producing grapes for years yet—climate change. Floods, landslides, torrential rain, hot spells, mountain passes impassable—climate change. Earthquake, endangered species, see how handy it is.

I had been annoyed because none of these officials ever seemed to do their homework, to read any of the science, to understand why so many reputable scientists cast aspersions on the climate change idea. Of course they officially are true believers. It gets them off the hook for whatever happens.

Silly me. I just thought they were lazy or stupid.

Reforming The Courts, One Outstanding Justice At a Time by The Elephant's Child
October 13, 2017, 6:24 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Most Republicans are extremely pleased with President Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. And most of us are unaware that the President is filling the federal judiciary with a whole class of “brilliant young textualists” who bear little resemblance even to prior appointments by the Reagan or Bush administrations. Mr. Trump has nominated nearly 60 judges, filling more vacancies than Barack Obama did in his entire first year. And there are another 160 more openings that will allow Mr. Trump to increase conservative majorities on the circuit courts that have the final say on 99% of federal legal disputes.

The project is the work of Mr. Trump, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. They have addressed the problems of the judiciary with purpose. The Bush team had a committee approach, hunting for nominees who were the least controversial and had a small paper trail — which helped them to get past a Senate filibuster, but meant bland choices.

Harry Reid, in 2013, decided to blow up the filibuster for judicial nominees, which has freed the Trump White House from having to worry about a Democratic veto during confirmation. Mr. McGahn has been free to work with the Federalist Society to choose the most conservative judges. Mr. McGahn has been concerned with constitutional law and the risk of a powerful administrative state. The focus is on choosing jurists who understand the real challenges of our big government era. They wanted nominees who can read a statute and understand the implications. So they have a group of young rock stars, textualists like Justice Scalia.

Donald Trump’s desire to improve the courts has matched Mr. McConnell’s passion for remaking the judiciary. The new generation of Republican senators elected in recent cycles are reformers — Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton. Mr. Trump will keep on tweaking the media with tweets and comments, but in the background, government is being remade.

The Final Bill For the Standing Rock Protests is About $43 Million by The Elephant's Child

021517-debris-1-1170x775The protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline ended back at the end of February, with 240 rollout dumpsters to carry away the mess the protesters left behind. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned on spending more than $1 million just to clean up. At the end of September North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services announced that taxpayers will have to pay about $43 million in expenses accrued as the state struggled to respond to the 233 days of protesters.

The Standing Rock protesters claimed that they were “peaceful and prayerful,” but rioters “threw stones, feces and Molotov cocktails at cops, obstructed roads, set fires, and even rode on horseback behind a herd of bison, attempting to stampede them towards law enforcement.” 8,000 to 10,000 people camped out to protest the pipeline. Local authorities had to ask for help from law enforcement in 11 states to cope. More than 750 protesters were arrested and at least 107 of those charged have pleaded guilty or been found guilty, some on multiple counts. Most of the costs will be paid by North Dakotans, but the Department of Justice provided the state with a $10 million grant which make taxpayers nationwide responsible for the Leftist’s criminal antics.

The protests, of course were not about tribal rights or cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned or controlled by the Standing Rock Sioux, the land in question belongs to the federal government or private owners.

The tribe was consulted, more than 50 tribes were consulted, and resulted in 140 adjustments to the route. It was not about the water, the drinking water intake is about 70 miles downriver from where the pipeline was slated to cross the Missouri River, and runs 100 feet below the river. It was not about the climate. The oil has already been produced and transporting it by train or truck is far more susceptible to accidents and spills.

The protests ended pretty much when winter set in. Camping out is not nearly so much fun when it gets really cold. And once the oil was flowing as intended, the protests were moot.



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