American Elephants


This Is Just Not Right! by The Elephant's Child

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that 15 year-old girls can purchase the “morning-after” pill over-the-counter without a prescription or without the knowledge of their parents. They remain not old enough to drive, not old enough to decide what they want for lunch, not old enough to get an aspirin for a headache, not old enough to go on a school field trip without an official signed permission slip from their parents, but the “morning after” pill — no problem.  Go figure.

The so-called Sexual Revolution has a lot to answer for.

 



Endangering America With Politically Correct Language by The Elephant's Child

The most important post today came from Victor Davis Hanson. who wrote about “The Obama Borg: How ‘man-caused disasters” replaced Islamist terrorism in the Obama lexicon.”

In Star Trek lore, the Borg was a collective of servile drone operatives that sought to assimilate other species into its ‘hive mind.’

Something akin to that creepy groupthink arose when the Obama administration took power and sought to reformulate the so-called war on terror. Almost immediately, Obama operatives suggested that radical Islamists were no more likely than any other group to commit acts of terrorism. In fact, the very idea of terrorism — not to mention a war against it — was supposedly a Bush-administration construct unfairly aimed at Muslims.

Obama apparently sincerely believed that there was no intrinsic connection between Islamism and terror; or, if there was, Islamic radicalism was no more dangerous than right-wing or supposedly Christian-inspired terror. Or if Islamic radicalism did arise, it might be mitigated by multicultural sympathy and outreach, mostly by contextualizing the violence as an inevitable result of prior Western culpability.

If you remember, Obama came into office proudly extolling his years in a Muslim Country (before he was ten years old) as giving him a deep understanding of that part of the world. He called the War in Iraq  “a dumb war,” and set about making nice with Muslim countries and changing the vocabulary of the American government. Terrorism became “man caused disasters,” the war on terror became “the politics of fear.”

The dreadful shooting at Fort Hood became “workplace violence”and the increasing radicalism of Major Hasan and his correspondence with the radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki was brushed aside for fear of being labeled Islamophobic. Even though he yelled “Allahu Akbar!” as he killed twelve soldiers, one civilian and wounded more than 30 others. Army Chief of Staff George Casey stated “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” Thirteen lives snuffed out and thirty wounded and that is less important than “our diversity.”

What kind of orders must have been issued? Political correctness reigns, and to fail to respect “our diversity” can be a career-ending error. In Afghanistan, our soldiers who were assigned the task of training Afghan troops and police, were forbidden to have magazines in their weapons to show their trust for the trainees. That resulted in a lot of dead American soldiers when jihadists turned their weapons on the trainers.

Dr. Hanson enumerates cases of those who served in the Bush administration who have been drawn into the hive and now speak in only preferred terms.

Jihadism, violent extremism, radical Islam is a part of the vast Muslim religion.  The abuses of strict adherence to sharia law, honor killings, abuse of women are all part of the vast Muslim religion. Yet the West twists themselves into pretzels to avoid giving offense. Muslims are quick to accuse the West of “Islamophobia,” because they fear to speak out against the “violent extremists?” I don’t know, but it would seem that the problem must be settled within Islam. I don’t think it can be solved from outside.

Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, delivered a paper on “Denying Islam’s Role in Terror: Explaining the Denial” at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, and it is well worth your time. It is a complicated problem, but the refusal to name the enemy, to recognize terrorism where it exists, leaves us open to errors like the refusal to monitor Tammerlan Tsarnaev even when warned of his extremism by the Russians.

Today, Mr. Obama has announced that it’s time to close Guantanamo. He cannot grasp the reason why the worst of the terrorists should not be in this country in our domestic justice system. Guantanamo is about as close to a resort as any prisoners experience anywhere in the world, and the prisoners are better treated, but Obama’s view of Islam is fixed in concrete, and he does not change his mind. The creepy groupthink the Obama administration has used to reformulate the war on terror is a real problem, and the failure to understand the violent part of the Religion of Peace will do damage to our country.



The Life Of Julius: How Unions Hurt Workers by The Elephant's Child

Here’s the sequel to Obama’s “Life of Julia,” the poor soul who is utterly dependent on the government for life. Or rather, an invitation for  you to become dependent, so the wise people in government can help you until you can go to work for the government. A sad tale of the loss of individual liberty and a wasted life.

Julius is a fictional character like Julia, but his aspirations, hopes and values are shared by every American. He wants opportunity and economic security. He wants his years of hard work to mean some level of comfort in his retirement. As Iain Murray writes:

Unfortunately, labor-union bosses, and the politicians and laws they support, continually frustrate Julius’s prosperity in ways both large and small, both obvious and subtle. Labor unions have a political stranglehold on the economy in hundreds of ways that affect every single worker, whether they are union members or, like Julius, never belong to a union in their entire life. …

What we’ve tried to do with ”The Life of Julius” is to illustrate how the way unions are run today hurts workers at every stage of their working life — even if they are never a member of a labor union.



Political Correctness Strikes Again, In Politically Correct Washington State. by The Elephant's Child

I’m so embarrassed. Washington State is in the news again, and the lightweights in the state capitol in Olympia, having nothing better to do in a time of economic downturn and vast unemployment, have secured our new governor’s signature as the final piece of a six-year effort to rewrite state laws using gender-neutral vocabulary. No more crass use of terms such as “fisherman” to describe those hardy souls who head off for northern waters to bring in a load of our iconic salmon. They are now “fishers”, the gender-neutral replacement.

Our colleges and universities will no longer have “freshman classes”, but only “first-year students.” Elementary schools will no longer teach “penmanship” but only “handwriting.” That last is a lie, because our schools aren’t teaching handwriting either. Now that computers are ubiquitous, our education establishment has concluded that cursive writing is no longer necessary, and once kids can print they abandon the penmanship effort entirely. You have probably noticed if you’ve been around kids — they can’t write.

“There’s no good reason for keeping our legal terms anachronistic and with words that do not respect our current contemporary times,” Kohl-Welles, the 475-page bill’s sponsor, told Reuters.

They won’t change “airman” or “seaman” because of objections by the state’s Washington Military Department. They couldn’t find substitutes for “man hole” and “man lock”.  We apparently  have a 40-man person Washington Code Reviser’s Office to get all such vocabulary changes into the Washington State Code. The people will go on  using the same vocabulary they’ve always used.

This, of course, has nothing to do with “sexism” or “gender-neutrality,” it is political correctness run amok. Or even more accurately — it is cultural Marxism, an effort that has been going on since World War I. It is a tale of the perpetually discontented, the victims in our world. The victims are feminists, gays, blacks, Hispanics, and they rewrite history, invent statistics, embroidered with lies and demands. Americans must be fearful of what they say, of what they write and what they think. If they use the wrong word, they may be denounced as offensive, insensitive, racist, sexist and/or homophobic.

The United States Air Force Academy removed words that stood at the base of a ramp that cadets walked up on their first day at the academy — a symbolic threshold between an old life and a new one. The words had stood for 39 years; 10 letters, each of them two feet tall” “Bring Me Men” — the first words of a poem written in 1894  by Sam Walter Foss, “The Coming American” — “Bring me men to match my mountains, Bring me men to match my plains, Men with empires in their purpose, And new eras in their brains.” Those words were taken down in 2003, so the academy could be more “gender-neutral.” Uni-sex bathrooms? Women in combat? It is all of a piece.

John Steele Gordon recently wrote about the politically correct effort to remove Christ from the calendar and replace the terms AD and BC with CE and BCE. CE stands for ‘common era’ and BCE for ‘before common era,’ since roughly half the world’s population is non-Christian, we shouldn’t use loaded terms such as AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ).

Mostly we just laugh at this stuff, or are embarrassed when some guy in the office is hauled down to Human Resources for a lecture because he had the nerve to compliment a woman. Or a first-grader is suspended from school for chewing his Pop Tart into a shape that resembles a pistol. The examples are all around us. Officialdom descends on us and tells us that we are — offensive, insensitive, racist, sexist and/or homophobic. Police have been called to deal with little kids that have water-pistols or plastic army-men.  People are fired for being politically incorrect. Then it’s no longer a laughing matter.

Political Correctness is cultural Marxism, or Marxism translated from economic terms into cultural terms. It is a totalitarian ideology, and nowhere is the totalitarian nature of political correctness revealed more thoroughly than on our college campuses, where speech codes triumph and legal organizations have been created to protect the civil rights of students and faculty (F.I.R.E.).

Cultural Marxism says that all of history is determined by power, by which groups are defined in terms of race, sex, etc, and have  power over other groups. Nothing else matters. Power? When a white student is denied admittance to a college in favor of a black or Hispanic who isn’t as well qualified, the student is expropriated. When a contract is denied to a white-owned company because the contract is reserved for a company owned by a Hispanic or a woman, that’s an example of power. When a bankruptcy denies the legal rights of bondholders to first claim on a company’s assets and instead gives a third of the ownership of the company to the unions (whose excessive benefits were largely the cause of bankruptcy) — that’s power, and the goal of political correctness, gender-neutrality, deconstruction of our great books, and the last obstacles  to the creation of a Marxist paradise — the end of capitalism and of Western civilization itself.

An Accuracy in Academia address by Bill Lind explains the origins of political correctness clearly and in depth. (It’s not long) Or Bill Whittle explains it, he calls it “the narrative,” in the following video.



Lazy Language — Like, You Know… by The Elephant's Child

Uncertainty, Uncertainty and More Uncertainty. by The Elephant's Child

“Unexpectedly” U.S. economic growth expanded in the first quarter at the sluggish annual rate of 2.5 percent,  the Commerce Department said on Friday, missing economists’ forecast of a 3.2 percent growth rate.  The fourth quarter nearly stalled at 0.4 percent. This is all before the sequester went into effect.

The recession (“the worst recession since the Great Depression”) officially ended in June, 2009. The stock market is soaring, hitting record levels, the rich are getting richer — and the poor are getting poorer. What’s happening? Why is there no recovery? Economies, the results of millions of transactions in a free market, like to recover. When an economy is thrown off track by some major error — in this case the housing debacle — once the downturn stops going down it usually recovers fairly swiftly. So what’s going wrong?

Many small businesses and companies are in good shape and have money to spend, but they are not pumping capital back into the economy. In today’s Wall Street Journal Bill McNabb, chairman and CEO of the Vanguard Group says:

Quite simply, if firms can’t see a clear road to economic recovery ahead, they’re not going to hire and they’re not going to spend. It’s what economists call a “deadweight loss”—loss caused by inefficiency.

Today, there is uncertainty about regulatory policy, uncertainty about monetary policy, uncertainty about foreign policy and, most significantly, uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy and the national debt. Until a sensible plan is created to address the debt, America will not fulfill its economic potential.

I’m certainly not an economist, but I’ve noticed that every time there is a positive move by the administration or Congress that should encourage growth,  the administration is either issuing major new regulations, attacking an industry, raising some tax, raising the cost of energy. To be at lest partly fair, I don’t think the administration understands the consequences of many of their actions.

When the administration forces coal-fired power plants out of business, it raises the cost of electricity. Low cost electricity powers our economy. Increased prices affect everything. Approve the Keystone pipeline. Don’t raise taxes until the economy recovers, not even little taxes. Stop playing sequester games. Back off. You’re taking in more revenue than ever before.

Concern about the national debt, and about excessive spending, are heightened by the president’s refusal to consider any reduction in spending and his demand for more taxes. The President is creating the uncertainty himself, that is holding the economy back.

The economists who measure uncertainty point out that both parties blame each other, and each sees the other position as false.

  • Republicans are blaming the President and Congressional Democrats for creating regulatory uncertainty and introducing harmful regulations.
  • They further accuse the Democrats of failing to face up to the main long-term drivers of rising debt and press for the reform of social security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social insurance programs.
  • Democrats, in turn, accuse Republicans of obstructionism, political brinksmanship and an obsessive focus on tax and spending cuts.
  • They fault Republicans for a lack of meaningful detail on their healthcare reform proposals, and for failing to embrace a mix of both spending cuts and tax hikes in order to respond to US fiscal imbalances. ( click to enlarge)

index of policy uncertainty

It doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t some mysterious economic trick. Knock off the regulation. You have enough regulation to govern every action for the next century. It’s just a compulsion to tell other people what to do, and you don’t know enough about running a business to tell anyone what to do. Just leave them alone. They do know how to run their businesses, and how to grow.



Conscientious Conservatives vs. Unprincipled Bastards. by The Elephant's Child

red elephant elephants tsavo kenya africa 14

The extreme differences between the thinking of Liberals and that of Conservatives is an endlessly distasteful obsession of mine. If you read some of the early fulminations in the media upon the election of Barack Obama, it’s clear that he was widely regarded as someone who would bring the two warring camps in Washington together. Bipartisanship. Bringing people together — peace in our time.

It was only talk. Liberals want to do away with Conservatives, not get along with them. Their hatred for Conservatives is palpable — because we disagree. They don’t just want to defeat us in elections, they want us unable to compete at all. Liberals are apt to approach subjects emotionally, to turn to those who agree with them and reject those who don’t. They say silly things about the right because their understanding comes from what their friends say — they have no direct experience of conservatives. Haven’t you noticed that they all say the same thing at the same time?

For example, Liberals want to raise the minimum wage. They feel deeply for the poor, and think it is just plain mean to expect someone to support a family on the minimum wage at $7 an hour. The minimum wage is meant to be a starting point for beginners, not families. Studies show when it is raised too much, businesses are unwilling to pay people while they are trained to perform the most minimum tasks adequately. Increasing the minimum wage eliminates the first step on the ladder of lifetime employment. Liberals are not interested in studies.

What got me started on this was a video on the Boston Herald site. A female reporter was interviewing the photographer who took the iconic photographs of the immediate aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing. She showed a photo, full screen, and asked the reporter “How did you feel when you took that picture?” Stark photos of the first-responders in among the wounded and the debris. Then she’d show another and ask “How did you feel when you took this one?” Repeat, over and over. [ I have worked with lots of photographers, I can tell you that the one thing he was totally unaware of was his “feelings.” He was concerned with getting a good shot, representing the horror going on, catching the rush to help, the faces, the bodies, the wounds, the lighting, the design.] I knew Liberals thought of emotion first, but really!

Here is an important example of the liberal mindset, with three articles that make the problem clear:

— From Slate:the liberal view of global warming, Fox News, and the narrow right-wing wackos for whom Fox is their only news source.
— From the Washington Times: David Deming, a geophysicist and professor at the University of Oklahoma, explains the science.
— From the Weekly Standard: Steven Hayward, indispensable intellectual, professor, explains the rise and fall of the Climate Circus, how it happened, and why it matters.

Do read all three, they’re not long and they are keepers — that explain the confusion about the whole global warming issue. Global Warming is not just an emotional issue for Liberals, it is about as close as you can get — to a true religion. The left on the one hand talks about progress and how to fix everything that is wrong with the world today. On the other hand, their solutions are the same old failed progressive ideas that have been handed down from Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, Clinton to Obama. Their ideas have never worked, but they are sure that this time it will be different.

Liberals are perpetually discontented. They are sure that if they can just fix the things that so annoy them, change the bad things, they will arrive at some happy Utopia — or at least a better place. They admit to no underlying principles. They would like to have some, but they just can’t figure out what they are.

On the right, you find conservatives consistently talking about principles, facts, studies, freedom and free markets and how those principles apply to the problems of the day. The Constitution is revered by conservatives as the document devised by the people, who grant limited powers to the government that exists at their pleasure. It is a simple document that states general principles and doesn’t pretend to address all the problems of a country. At 226 years of age, it is the longest serving constitution in the world, and has served us well, and most Americans take pride in it.

Conservatives are more apt to recognize ordinary human nature as rather messy and not fixable. Perhaps what makes conservatives different from liberals is that they paid attention when their mothers told them that “life isn’t fair. You just have to do the best you can.” Liberals kept whining about stuff not being fair, and are convinced that if you just trust their expertise,
they will fix it.



Here’s Who We Were in 1790, According to the Census. by The Elephant's Child
April 28, 2013, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, The United States | Tags: , ,

In the census of 1790, only 60 percent of the white population of over three million remained English in ancestry. (1,800,000)

700 thousand were of African descent.

Tens of thousands were native Indians;

All the peoples of Europe were present in the country.

  • 9 percent German,
  • 8 percent were Scots
  • 6 percent were Scots-Irish
  • 4 percent were Irish
  • Over 3 percent Dutch
  • the remainder: French, Swedes, Spanish, and people of unknown ethnicity

From Gordon S. Wood: Empire of Liberty

 



About Those Tired, Worn-Out, Trickle-Down Ideas… by The Elephant's Child

When Barack Obama first ran in 2008, he claimed his economic policies would “foster economic growth from the bottom up and not just from the top down.” He promised “an immediate rescue plan for the middle class” and would end the “tired, worn-out trickle-down ideologies we’ve been seeing for so many  years.”

With a Democrat controlled Senate and a Democrat controlled House, Obama got everything he wanted in his first two years in the White House. He got a massive stimulus, a bailout for the auto industry, temporary tax cuts for the middle class, vast new regulations on business and capped it all off with ObamaCare, the first big step to socialized medicine, the program that is working so well in the United Kingdom.

Didn’t work. Not any of it. Twenty million people cannot find work. Many workers are being cut back to less than 30 hours a week, the ObamaCare cutoff point. More people on food stamps than ever in history, more people on Disability than  ever in history. That tired, worn-out trickle-down ideology we’ve been seeing for so many years never had results like this.

The actual results of Obamanomics — the rich get richer
and the poor get poorer!

A new Pew report using Census data on net worth found that from 2009 to 2011, the richest seven percent of Americans found their average net worth climb by $697,651 — a 28% gain.

The rest of you poor souls? The other ninety-three percent of us saw our average net worth drop by an average $6,079 — equal to a 4% loss. Since Obama took office, the average income of the poorest twenty percent of households fell nearly 8% to levels last seen in the Reagan era. The Gini index, which measures income inequality has climbed steadily under Obama, after remaining flat during the Bush administration.

But it’s all the fault of those dastardly Republicans. Not sure how that works, but that’s what Obama keeps saying when he isn’t claiming the opposite of reality.

In the meantime — Ain’t we got fun!



A $3.2 Million Advertising Campaign to Sell a Pig. by The Elephant's Child

The Department of Health and Human Services, the designated agency for rolling out and making sense of ObamaCare, under the direction of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just doled out a $3.1 million Public Relations contract to improve the image of ObamaCare. Advertising Age reports that Weber Shandwick will help “roll out a campaign to convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans that the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” ( I can’t write that name without snorting)” is good for them and convince them that they should enroll in a health plan.”

Administration officials insist the ads won’t be political, but just before the 2010 midterm election, HHS spent $3.2 million on an ad campaign featuring the late actor Andy Griffith, who told his fellow old folks that “more good things are coming from Medicare,” but neglected to mention the dramatic cuts to 10 million Medicare Advantage members, who may have already seen their plans ended or can expect to see them end soon. FactCheck said: “The words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that benefits will remain the same” is as fictional as the town of Mayberry, when Griffith played the local sheriff.

In fact ObamaCare is becoming more unpopular as people begin to “find out what’s in it,” to quote Nancy Pelosi, and are faced with the astonishing rise in their health care premiums or with losing them entirely. Of course, the Democrats sneaky attempt to excuse themselves and their staffs and employees from having to participate, was exposed by the national media, and should sour anyone who is still wavering on the supposed wonderfulness of ObamaCare.

The thing is, nobody did know what was in it, nor understood what the consequences  of what was in it were. There are always consequences. People respond to incentives and disincentives. Those who were responsible for drafting this bill were vaguely aware that they needed to figure out how to pay for it, so they decided to add a tax on medical devices. No big deal if granny had to pay a little extra for her walker.

The consequences were more complicated.  Many of the manufacturers of medical devices are small businesses operating on tight budgets, as startups usually do. It’s a rapidly changing field with lots of expensive research and development. They are laying off workers — in an economy already suffering from high unemployment. And in a specific industry with many layoffs, those workers will have a hard time finding a new job.  You can’t just put a new kind of stent, or a new kind of knee-joint out — they have to be tested on real people, and if they don’t work there’s a huge cost for insurance. Then you suddenly have a terrorist bombing in Boston and all sorts of people needing prosthesis. They didn’t plan on that kind of thing. Congress seems to agree that it was a bad idea and wants to repeal that part, but that’s complicated too.

The 22,000-member United Union of Roofers has issued a public statement calling for “repeal or complete reform” of ObamaCare. A Union. At no point since it passed has ObamaCare been regarded favorably by more than 45 percent, and the latest Kaiser Family Health Foundation pegs its nationwide support at only 37 percent.

Insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket next year, and it looks as if key parts of ObamaCare will miss their start date. Secretary Sebelius complained that “no one fully anticipated” the difficulties involved in setting up ObamaCare. (Republicans did) But of course she blamed “obstructionist Republicans” for engaging in “state-by-state political battles” to slow down the creation of the exchanges. Perhaps it would be less complicated if she hadn’t granted  waivers to cronies and Democrats.

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the main architects calls the bill “probably the most complex piece of legislation” ever passed by the U.S. Congress. Max Baucus (D-MO) says “I just see a huge train wreck coming.”  Coincidentally both Senators are retiring next year. A study by the Society of Actuaries has predicted that medical claims per policyholder will rise by 32 percent in the individual plans in the health care exchanges. In some states the increase could rise to 80 percent.

The Obama administration is preparing for the worst. Michael Cannon of Cato says they are getting ready to spend $600 billion that Congress never authorized on federally run state exchanges in order to ease the possibility of sticker shock. The old hide the increase game.

Advertising firm Weber Shandwick has their work cut out for them.  This is a real case of putting lipstick on a pig, and no matter how you pretty-up the pig, it remains a pig. An emotional appeal  with sob stories? A beloved character to be the public face? A tear-jerker with victims of Sandy, Newtown, or the Boston Marathon? The one thing they cannot do is tell the truth.
It is a pig of a law.



We’ve Failed Six Times, But This Time We’ll Get It Right! by The Elephant's Child

Janet Napolitano

The trouble with Big Government (one of them at least) is that they keep doing the same thing over and over. They declare war on poverty, they reform failing American education, they rescue crumbling infrastructure, and they reform our broken immigration laws. Again and again, and it never works.

The key provision of the Gang of 8’s immigration reform bill tells  you everything you need to know. It requires the development within ten years, of a check-in/check-out system for foreign visitors. That is important because almost half of the illegal population came here quite legally, but never left. If we do not record who leaves, we don’t know who is still here when they shouldn’t be. The common 11 million number of illegals is a moving-average educated-estimate, roughly half illegal border-crossers and half who have overstayed their visas.

The illegal alien will get a “provisional ” status right after the bill is signed. The completion of the in and out system is a “trigger” of requirement that has to be satisfied before the formerly illegal aliens can upgrade from “provisional” status to a full green card which permits eventual citizenship.

Here’s the problem. Congress required the development of just such an entry-exit system 17 years ago. In fact, the demand to complete the system has been reiterated by Congress a total of six times since the original requirement in 1996. So the Seventh Time is presumed to be the charm?

The new bill, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, actually waters down the provision in existing law, which calls for a check-in/check-out system at all crossing points. The new bill requires it only at airports and seaports, though the majority of foreign visitors come across our land borders.

We have lots of legislation on the books about immigration. Congress voted in 2006 to build 370 miles of triple-layered fence and 500 miles of automobile barriers. Obama claimed in 2011 that the border fence was “basically complete,” but according to DHS only 36.3 miles of border fence actually exist.

Federal immigration agents have filed suit seeking to block President Obama’s deferred-deportation initiative. ICE agents across the country have been put in a difficult position, stuck between federal policy and the Obama Administration’s insistence that they are above the law. Kris Kobach, Kansas Sec. of State, and the legal representative for the ICE agents said:

ICE is at a point now where agents are being told to break federal law. They’re pretty much told that any illegal alien under the age of 31 is going to be let go.

Senator Jeff  Sessions confronted Napolitano: “I have never heard of a situation in which a group of law officers sued their supervisor and you for blocking them from following the law.”

Federal district court judge Reed O’Connor (Northern District of Texas) found that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings when the requirements for deportation under a federal statute are met. In other words, DHS does not have discretion to refuse to follow the law.

In a startling and candid admission, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano argued to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that regardless of oaths to uphold the law, the president and the executive branch can choose what laws are to be enforced.

The Gang of 8’s bill is supposedly different because they “promise” not to have any amnesty until the security provisions are in place. But there is no trust left. No one believes DHS. When the President just decides that any illegal over the age of 31 is free to stay in defiance of laws to the contrary, the response should be prove it! Separate the bill into parts with the security and enforcement provisions all put in place and functioning before any path to citizenship begins. Sorry. You have lied to us too often.

When Congress tackles the Big Issues, they get anxious to pass a comprehensive bill — this one checks in at 844 pages — that solves everything, so they can move on to another issue. We have seen the failures of their “comprehensive bills” all too often.



Red Lines and Nerve Gas by The Elephant's Child

img_606X341_2504-syria-chemical-weapons
euronews

The White House admitted yesterday what has been known for some time. The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons to attack its own people. In 2010, Barack Obama stated that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” for the United States, a “game changer” that would theoretically move the White House in an undefined way from its position of studied indifference.

The opposition has accused the Assad regime for some time of using chemical agents, but the White House has dismissed the claims. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced that the United States now believes “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people. Whatever “varying degrees of confidence” means. Hagel said the intelligence community has been assessing the problem. Other countries have reached the same conclusion with a high degree of confidence. Except they aren’t usually expected to do anything about it.

Theoretically, when you announce a “red line”, a “game changer,” you have set in motion something like the entire Pentagon deciding what you should do about it. Threats that are just repeated with “varying degrees of confidence” elicit little confidence from either the people or any of the players. 70,000 dead is a lot of people.

If American aid can help to cause Assad’s downfall and lead to his replacement by a non-radical replacement, we should help. If getting rid of Assad simply means installing another radical regime, then we shouldn’t be talking about “red lines.”

Ideally, a leader of a regime who uses nerve gas on his people should have a giant fist descend like a hammer directly on his head, so its like will never be repeated. But ideal circumstances seldom happen. Dithering, needing ever more information, consulting with the UN and going all wishy-washy only makes the U.S, weak and our enemies bold, and that is the worst of all worlds.




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