American Elephants

Governing America With Chicago-Style Politics by The Elephant's Child

Michelle Malkin exposes today how the Obama administration’s “new loyalty rewards program for progressives” is a program to appease the far left who were disappointed in furious with ObamaCare because it did not go straight to single-payer government-run health care — better known as socialized medicine.

Obama has never settled in as the president of all Americans, nor just as president of Democrat Americans. He seems to see himself as the leader of the most powerful country in the world, and his job is to bring it down to size. He is unconstrained by the Constitution, ordinary laws, custom or tradition. It is an extremely odd position, and there is a vast army of people trying to figure it out. The position is so different from that of any other president we have known. We want to know what makes him tick, and he is unprepared to reveal any such thing.  He brought to the office a vast confidence that his speech would move the masses around the world, that he had “a gift,” and an insider’s knowledge of Chicago politics and its requirements.

I have never been to Chicago, so my information is all from what I read, and from my long-time next door neighbors who are from Illinois. It is crony capitalism at its worst. But that is a feeble term to describe the problem. You give me large amounts of campaign money, and I will give you access.  If you have a project, a business, a startup, or an investment — I will reward you with funding obtained by taxing the public. Your project doesn’t have to be legitimate, and you can cook your books, but we will try to keep you from being hauled into court. You can give yourself and your friends huge salaries and bonuses, just follow the rules so you don’t get in trouble or get us in trouble. In return, I expect more donations next time, and your efforts to get me re-elected, in which case we will repeat the process. If you mess up and get indicted, you go right under the bus. That’s the story of all those “green” investments. Taxpayer money for cronies.

Now, the White House will create a $6 billion network of non-profit “CO-OPs” that will “compete” with private insurers. They celebrated the release of nearly $700 million in taxpayer-funded low-interest loans for seven CO-OPs in eight states. They will be administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The fund will finance more money into CO-OP plans nationwide over the next year. In 2014, the plans will be offered on the federally approved and federally monitored state health exchange “marketplace.” Of course, in the Chicago way, campaign donors get special ObamaCare waivers.

This is a direct attack on non-subsidized, for-profit insurance companies. Obama has been falsely demonizing them for 4 years as greedy outfits that force people into bankruptcy if they get sick. The program’s overseers predict a nearly 40 percent default rate for the loans. Obama has done an outstanding job of destroying the best health care system in the world. Do read Michelle Malkin’s whole article.  She has a sharp eye for what is really going on. Corruption, Chicago style.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Immigration and the Border Wars by The Elephant's Child

The argument about legal and illegal immigration is usually heated and extremely confused. A very large percentage of Americans simply want immigration laws that are obeyed and enforced, and they don’t want drug suppliers or terrorists from Latin America entering the country illegally. We want people here on temporary visas to go home when their time is up. That doesn’t seem either too complicated or in any way unfair.

We prize the text on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” in recognition of the fact that America is a nation of immigrants, and a lot of tired, poor immigrants have contributed greatly to our country. On the other hand, we want to welcome those who come with big brains  and  big bank accounts who want the freedom to create wonders. We are troubled when foreign students come to our universities to get advanced degrees in engineering and physics and then we send them home, even if they want to stay. And those who overstay their visas need to go home.

Any child born in the United States is a citizen, yet we have “tourists”who come here specifically to give birth to an American citizen. We are troubled by the idea that all of a citizen’s relatives may get a spot in line before others.  The whole immigration thing is impossibly complicated, and enormously political.

Then add in cries of racism, prejudice and ethnic profiling directed at those who want legal limitations on immigration. Many feel empathy for illegal immigrants who have avoided questions about their legal status, settled here and paid taxes, and think they should be offered amnesty. Others see no end to the amnesty because there is a constant influx of illegal immigrants who settle and establish themselves. There are somewhere between 9 million and 11 million illegals here.

Democrats usually favor amnesty and even open borders because they believe that Hispanic immigrants are reliable Democrat voters, and obtaining power is always on the mind of a Democrat politician. Memos from the Department of Homeland Security’s highest ranks show that the Obama administration has tried to form a strategy to achieve amnesty for the illegal  population without input from Congress.

The course decided upon seems to be “prosecutorial discretion” in an ICE memo of June 2011, that prevents the enforcement of immigration law, and is effectively worker authorization for much of the current illegal population. Federal lawyers are escalating their crackdown on tough immigration laws, and challenge state laws in court. The Justice Department has sued Arizona and Alabama, and gone after Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In January, the administration proposed new hardship rules to make it easier for illegals to apply for legal status if they have a spouse or parent already living here. The Washington Post says “Immigrant-rights groups call the move a “tremendous victory.” Others, who obeyed the rules and came to the country legally are deeply offended.

There are 20.7 million acres of federal land along the U.S.–Mexico border. There are also over 1,000 miles of federal land along the U.S.–Canada border. The number of illegals detained at the border has fallen in recent years— the promise of jobs is down, but there  is an  increase in violent criminals, drug smugglers and human traffickers. Reports of Iran-sponsored activity in Mexico are increasing.

You’ve got the Coronado National Forest, the Sonoran Desert National Monument, The Organ Pipe National Monument and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which is directly adjacent to the border. Oversight of one sort  or another is provided by the U.S. Forest Service (Dept. of Agriculture) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) — all Department of Interior Agencies. Then you have the Department of Homeland Security, which supervises customs, immigration and naturalization, transportation security, and — the U.S Border Patrol.

The previous paragraph exposes the problems. Who is in charge of what? Add to that the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Earthjustice, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity. There are also ranchers who own private land and lease public lands along the border. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

For  environmental groups, activities that assist in securing the border may do damage to healthy ecosystems. In other words, ecosystems trump security and American safety. DHS has given university researchers a grant of $771,000 to track jaguar wanderings. Since 1996, there have been confirmed sightings of five jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico. Whether these endangered animals are native to Arizona or only visiting from Mexico is unknown. This is a portion of the $6.8 million grant to Interior for environmental projects—to compensate for environmental damage done by illegals and border protection activities including the border fence.

H.R. 1505:  The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act was introduced last April by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) to protect federal lands from being despoiled and to secure the borders. It would “prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action which would impede border security.” In other words, it gives the Border Patrol instead of federal land managers operational control over U.S. borders on public lands. It gives DHS authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the border, and authorization to waive any environmental policies that impede border security.

Turf battle. Enraged Greenies. A serious problem in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, for all the agencies, and for local law enforcement. Obama has directed that only those convicted of serious crimes will be deported. He pushed for the DREAM Act again in the SOTU speech. He has pressured staff to speed up and approve immigrant visa applications, even when fraud is suspected. He has cut back on Border Patrol personnel, and now there’s a new Illegal Alien Czar to make nice with illegals, Latino organizations, the “stakeholder community,” and to fail to remove those who might be potential voters. Andrew Lorenz-Strait is the nation’s first “public advocate” for the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency. Obama wants the Latino vote.  And he intends to devise any way he can to get around Congress and do what he pleases.

The drug wars in Mexico are spilling over into Arizona. A woman shopping on a downtown street in El Paso a few days ago, was shot by bullets flying across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Bullets have struck a local high school, City Hall and the University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso is generally safe, but Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the hemisphere.

Representative Bishop and his committee seem to have drawn up a sensible bill that tries to address the most urgent problems. The current situation is untenable, and the administration attempt to use it as a way to buy votes is shameful. When we do not control the border, that is just the beginning of the problems that result.

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