American Elephants


Scotland: Floor Eleven by The Elephant's Child

I do too have a sense of humor, though it doesn’t seem like it.  Here’s a little humor to break the bad news cycle.

It’s called:  Voice Recognition Lift



If the News of the Day Doesn’t Worry You—You Aren’t Paying Attention! by The Elephant's Child

There was so much in the news today. Obama’s big climate speech captured way too much of the news. Silly speech, misguided effort, wasted money, killing jobs, not affecting climate at all. And he couldn’t even get his facts straight.

—Edward Snowden remains in the news in a Where’s Waldo sort of way. He is apparently still in a hotel at the Moscow airport, and Putin in enjoying sticking a thumb in Obama’s eye in more ways than one. As President Obama called for a one-third reduction in our nuclear arsenal, the wars in the Middle East continued to heat up. Obama apparently didn’t notice, but Vladimir Putin did. Russia has built a new midrange missile, the Yars-M, banned under a 1987 arms treaty. So much for treaties. But Putin is also playing host to Snowden,  a traitor with possible secrets to share, and a danger to our national security interests.

—Since the world is becoming so much safer, as the Taliban are preparing to take over Afghanistan, the war in Syria is becoming more problematical, and the Middle East is becoming more dangerous. So, in a massive restructuring, the U.S. Army is slashing the number of active duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, and shifting thousands of soldiers around the country as it moves to cut the size of the service by 80,000. General Ray Odierno the Army Chief of Staff, said he hopes to cut through voluntary departures without forcing troops to leave the service. We have a long history of slashing forces just when the world is heating up.

—As President Obama is withdrawing troops from fighting terrorists in Afghanistan, he is sending others to Egypt  to protect the Islamofascists of the Muslim Brotherhood. The people of Egypt are not happy with the results of last year’s election, and are protesting increasing human-rights violations. More than 400 Arm soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas will be deployed to man posts throughout Egypt as part of a nine-month “peacekeeping mission.” They are trained for riot control and protests. Morsi has stacked the courts with mullahs, unleashed religious police to enforce Sharia law, He has censored the media and the arts, churches have been burned, women are forced into Islamic barb. Other Muslim Brotherhood leaders have called the U.;S. “the enemy” and called for jihad against American troops.

—The Medicare trustees report came out at the end of May. The White House has crafted some spin to accompany the scary story. Medicare’s finances have improved, the trust fund (?) will last longer, the unfunded liability will last longer, all because of the wonders of ObamaCare. Uh huh. The unfunded liability, the trustees say is $34 trillion over the next 75 years. That is based on a 25% reduction in the fees that Medicare pays doctors. Every doctor who takes Medicare patients would get a 25% pay cut. Congress knows that this won’t work, and usually postpones the cuts with a “doc-fix.” The ObamaCare law also calls for steep cuts in health care spending on the elderly. This is where the Independent Pay Advisory Board (IPAB) comes in. It is supposed to deny treatment to old folks if it’s expensive. The CBO has produced an alternative scenario in 2012, and projected the shortfall to be more than $100 trillion.

—Are you worried about NSA spying? Troubled by the ethics and intrusion of the IRS? You can look forward to the government’s data collection efforts as a result of ObamaCare. HHS exposed just how vast those efforts will be in the Federal Data Service Hub. The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare that will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies and how much to deny. HHS said the ObamaCare data hub will “interact” with seven other federal agencies: Social Security Administration, the IRS, Homeland Security, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management, The Department of Defense and the Peace Corps. The Hub will also plug into state Medicaid databases.  What sort of data? Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship,gender, ethnicity, financial information,  immigration status, enrollment status in other health plans and incarceration status. The federal government is quietly enacting the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic, which they can disclose without the consent of the individual to a wide assortment of contractors, consultants or others.

—If any of this concerns you, you might think about speaking to your representatives or senators, or about electing new ones. 1984 indeed.

—General Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, said on Sunday that China’s theft of intellectual property from the United States amounts to “the most significant transfer of wealth in history.

 



Needing Distraction From Scandals, Obama Renews “War on Coal” by The Elephant's Child

Portable radio to use outside. If I turned the radio to face North, I could listen to Ed Morrissey interviewing Marco Rubio, If I simply turned it to face East-West — I got Mexican music. I found it amusing, but then I’m easily amused.

Lots of big issues today, some of them serious. The Supreme Court found that portion of the voting rights act that required Southern states to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice to make any change to their voting process to be unconstitutional. The Department of Justice has become politicized; and the States have not been discriminating as is well demonstrated by their voting history since the 1950s.  The evidence is quite clear. It remains against the law to discriminate. Nevertheless, Democrats are having a noisy fit. They depend on keeping Blacks and Hispanics believing that they are being discriminated against. Essentially, the decision recognizes that the Voting Rights Act worked, and accomplished that which it was intended to do.

Big Climate speech at Georgetown University. President Obama says if Congress won’t pass the laws he wants them to, he’s going to do it by executive order. If you are a true believer, fully invested in the idea that the alarming warming of the globe— found only in climate computer programs (GIGO)—is a danger to the Earth,  and we shut down all CO2 emissions instantly, the projected global temperature rise would be a ‘savings’ of approximately 0.08° by the year 2050, and 0.17° by the year 2100. ho-hum.  So why is the president conducting a “War on Coal?” Either he is a true-believer in the alarmist theme; or the Green Lobby is conducting a War on Coal, and the Green Lobby is huge and the source of massive support for the Democrat party, and Obama wants to assure continued Green support for his party even after he has left office.

Coal provides more electricity than any other single power source in the United States. It does so at half the price of it’s nearest energy competitor — natural gas. Should the president manage to kill coal-fired plants without lifting regulatory restrictions on fracking or otherwise making it easier to produce natural gas. What his ‘war’ will accomplish is to put thousands of coal miners out of work  in some of the nation’s poorest areas, and dramatically raise your power bill.

He also wants increased “efficiency” standards from the EPA. What that has meant is washing machines that don’t clean clothes, inefficient and hazardous light bulbs that make reading hard, showers that have eliminated a satisfactory spray, low-flow toilets that have taken a decade to fix. In most cases energy efficiency measures simply increase energy consumption that uses up the expected savings. Are dishwashers next?

The president is pushing offshore wind energy and other renewable projects just at the time that other nations are getting out. Spain and Portugal, better sites for sun and wind, have recognized that the cost of large-scale renewables is more than their economies can bear. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for reducing government spending on wind and solar in order to keep Germany economically competitive. Germany is a Northern country and their love-affair with the sun has never made much sense. Business is moving to where energy costs are less. Think through the incentives of that.

Is the President an Ideologue, or just— in the Chicago Way—assuring his supporters that he’ll continue the Graft that has been so much a part of his administration?  Payback.



Our Immigration Dilemma: Unsolved and Unsolveable. by The Elephant's Child

The Senate today passed the Hoeven-Corker amendment to the Immigration Bill. Pity. It manages to weaken what small amounts of security were already in the bill. I don’t understand why people who came here illegally are more important than American citizens or those who have applied through standard legal channels to immigrate, and are politely waiting their turns.

It’s not “amnesty” they tell us. There are “barriers” on the “path to citizenship” that they have to pass before they can get a work permit, or necessary papers, or look forward to getting a green card.  The barriers have no teeth, can be waived, or cancelled, The aim is to get them amnesty as quickly as possible. Then we get the next flow of illegal immigrants who will want amnesty in their turn.

At every turn, it has been made easier for officials to simply waive security requirements, the Secretary of HHS can simply decide that whatever fencing is built is enough. Or ignore the requirements for learning English, reduce fines, eliminate tests.  We have over 4 million people who have applied for visas, waited for years for their turn, and the illegals get immediate work permits, amnesty, and not much in the way of those steps they had to take to become legal.

Victor Davis Hanson has written extensively about immigration, particularly in his 2003 book Mexifornia. Hanson has lived among Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, all of his life in California’s Central Valley.

Our immigration dilemma is a simple but apparently unsolvable calculus; Americans want the work they won’t do to be done cheaply by foreigners who, they wrongly assume, will inevitably transform themselves into Americans. In turn, the downtrodden Mexicans who come here and their elite advocates in America romanticize Mexico, a nation that brought them the misery they fled, while too often deprecating the place that alone gave them sanctuary. Everyone sees this — at least in the abstract — and can probably agree on the appropriate remedy: far less illegal immigration and a more measured policy of legal immigration, along with a stronger mandate for assimilation. But caught in a paralysis of timidity and dishonesty, we still cannot enact the necessary plans for a workable solution. To do so after all, entails confronting a truth that is painful and might displease thousands who have grown comfortable with the present chaos. Who wants to be called an isolationist or a nativist by the corporate Right, and a racist or a bigot by the multicultural Left?

A ten-year-old statement, and nothing has changed, nothing at all, except it’s all worse.



Headline of the Day. by The Elephant's Child

Today’s Headline: Aol

Tim Bartlett Chased by Wolf on Motorcycle in Canadar-WOLF-RUNNING-large570

If you had visions of someone named Tim running, screaming,  down the highway hotly pursued by a wolf riding a motorcycle., Nevermind.  I just thought it was funny.



The EEOC Applies For Position on the Agencies to Be Abolished List. by The Elephant's Child

Soft tyranny. What do you call it when your world is being transformed by political correctness, diversity, sustainability— all those meaningless words that provide political cover for accusations of racism, sexism, exclusion, discrimination, judgmentalism, and of course that amorphous fairness.

We have kindergarteners suspended from school for pointing “finger guns” and saying ‘pow!’ Little children questioned by the police for offenses such as bringing a one inch GI Joe gun to school, or biting a pop tart into the shape of a gun (or the state of Idaho). A high-school student is threatened with a year in jail for wearing an NRA tee shirt. This is not “zero tolerance of guns” to protect our children. It’s a sickness. Anyone who is unable to tell the difference between a “finger gun” and a Glock needs some serious psychiatric  help.

What roused my ire in particular is lawsuits filed by the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Dollar General and a BMW facility in South Carolina for the alleged unfair use of criminal background checks for job applicants.

The EEOC last year issued new guidelines that cautioned businesses against rejecting minority applicants who have committed a crime and recommended that businesses eliminate any policies that “exclude people from employment based on a criminal record.” Such screening, you see, might discriminate against African Americans. How about such screening discriminating against people who might commit a crime? So don’t do any background checks, just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

However, the update was issued out of concern that employers might disproportionately exclude minorities from getting hired because more African Americans and Hispanics are getting arrested and going to prison, according to the guideline report.

While the percentage of working-age Americans with a criminal record has increased significantly over the past 20 years, African Americans and Hispanics are arrested two to three times as much compared with the rest of the U.S. population, according to a commission report at the time of the vote.

I’m not sure that you can legislate fairness. That won’t keep them from trying.



I Have a Squirrel Problem! by The Elephant's Child

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Squirrels are, unfortunately, smart. My problem, although not quite the one pictured, is also one of bird-feeders.  I progressed down the normal path with a standard bird feeder, then added a cage with openings supposedly only open to songbirds, and a plexiglass dome to keep the little beasties out from the top. That worked for a while, but they figured out how to tip it over and spill most of the birdseed on the ground.

I found a new one that operates on springs, and a squirrel’s weight would pull lids down over the openings to the seeds. And Wild Birds has a new caged version that I have my eye on when they get a new shipment in. The current problem is not birdseed, but the suet war.

The suet feeder has a stout metal grill on each side, and the suet cake slides between. The exterior has channels into which the grills slide (and are fixed), and the bottom extends with a tail-prop panel for woodpeckers. We have lots of Red-Shafted Flickers, an occasional Downy Woodpecker and every so often a big Pileated Woodpecker will drop by. They are the big Woody-Woodpecker kind, 15″ long, and woodpeckers need tail-props.

The suet feeders are made of recycled plastic (a mistake) that holds the grill that holds the suet cake. The squirrels gradually discovered that if they chewed away the plastic at the corners of the grill enough, the grill would fall out, and the seed cake would fall on the ground where they could make a piggy banquet of it. (You will notice my tone of irritation). I am not without defenses. The spray hose on my sink is a powerful one and if I can get the window over the sink open fast enough, the squirrels get a shower that they do not like at all. HaH! My son calls me the “Crazy Lady.” He doesn’t know that I have been shopping for a high volume water water machine gun. I wired the grills back together in a patch job, but they defeated that as well. So — back to Wild Birds. Overcome by the attractiveness of a nice green one, I foolishly opted for buying the same kind I’d had previously which had actually lasted for a long time before they figured out how to defeat it.

Silly me! It took them TWO DAYS to defeat the new one. I said they’re smart. They had learned how it was done, and retain the knowledge.  It was no accident!

At one time, my office at work faced a huge big-leaf maple tree, with a long horizontal branch some 12-15 feet off the ground from which the gardeners had suspended a bird feeder on a strong cord on a pulley, so the feeder could be lowered  for refilling.  The squirrels would run along the branch, shinny down the cord and hang upside down with their noses in the openings of the feeder. One squirrel, however, sat aside, stationary, just looking at the feeder for the longest time. I got interested, just watching him. Eventually he stirred, went over to the feeder and chewed carefully through the cord. The feeder fell to the ground and spilled all its seed for a squirrel banquet. That’s when I learned that squirrels are smart.

The answer seems to be a wood version, which we then up-armor with thin sheets of copper or tin. If you know of a better solution, all suggestions are welcome. I will not be defeated by a tree rat! The Suet Wars continue unabated.



The Public’s 8 Top Policy Priorities Don’t Make Obama’s List! by The Elephant's Child

When Barack Obama began his second term, the public’s policy priorities were straightforward and unsurprising.  The economy topped the list according to Pew’s Public’s Policy Priorities for 2013, from a survey conducted January 9-13, 2013.

  1. Strengthening the economy — 86%
  2. Improving the job situation — 79%
  3. Reducing the budget deficit —72%
  4.  Defending against terrorism —71%
  5. Making Social Security financially sound — 70%
  6. Improving Education — 70%
  7. Making Medicare financially sound — 65%
  8. Reducing health costs —63%

Down at the bottom of Americans’  concerns were things like global warming — 28%, improving infrastructure — 30%, strengthening gun laws — 37%,  and illegal immigration gets a little more interest  —39%.

President Obama is reportedly planning a major speech this week on reigniting his plan to slow the rise of the oceans and  help the planet to heal. Actually, he’s more interested in regulating carbon, and shutting down coal-fired power plants.

He has promised his ‘Greens’ action on the Keystone XL controversy. He is opening offshore areas for wind energy (a remarkably expensive and inefficient venture), one must assume that the spate of elementary schools suspending or criminalizing little children for bringing GI-Joe guns (plastic 1″) or finger-gesture guns is part of his effort to strengthen gun laws.  He has set up a “war-room” in the Dirksen office building on immigration under aide Cecila Muñoz, a former lobbyist for La Raza.

These are his personal priorities and those of his moneyed backers. The environmental lobby is enormous and wealthy and determined, and shares Obama’s ideological goals.

Do you see a bit of a disconnect here? Why on earth would the president make those things which the public does not care about — his priorities?

President Obama doesn’t think the budget deficit is important, that’s clear. He will make Medicare financially sound and reduce health costs through ObamaCare and the Independent Pay Advisory Board— that unelected, unaccountable, bunch of bureaucrats who will decide what benefits are not cost effective for old folks who don’t have a lot of life-years left. Sarah Palin accurately called them the Death Panel. Terrorism is taken care of — remember that he killed bin Laden, and he has drones and NSA surveillance.  He is fixing education with free pre-school for all little kids, and the Core Curriculum for older kids. Indoctrination for all children.

That leaves the economy and jobs. Failing to approve the Keystone XL pipeline will cost thousands of potential jobs, but preventing that carbon from flowing may seem more important to him. ObamaCare has already cost thousands of jobs. A new carbon rule will cost jobs, and the jobs promised by offshore wind will probably not appear. But creating jobs is not a priority for Obama, making more people dependent on government is.

People who are dependent on government largesse will vote reliably for their benefactors. Of course it doesn’t work over time: socialists have been proving that for a very long time in a great many economies. But they just didn’t do it right. This time it’s sure to work.

 



The Border is Not Secure, and The Senate’s Bill is Not Going to Fix It. by The Elephant's Child

Back in February, Bloomberg Businessweek had a headline that proclaimed “While Nobody Was Looking, The Border Got Secured.” Reporter Elizabeth Dworkin said “Obama has poured money and resources into border security. In his first term, he spent $73 billion on immigration enforcement. That’s more than the budgets of all other federal law enforcement agencies.” Well, yes. In his first term Obama squandered money right and left. Dworkin depended on falling numbers of illegals apprehended, but doesn’t count the ones who got away.  President Obama has also tried to claim that the border is “secure.”

Janet Napolitano visited the border south of San Diego and announced “I believe the border’s a safe border. That’s not to say everything is 100 percent.” Well, yes, it’s not 100%, that’s why ICE agents are suing Secretary Napolitano and Homeland Security and the Obama administration for not letting them do their jobs.

The Heritage Foundation noted:

Last week, government watchdog Judicial Watch issued a report that shows the Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) was abandoning ordinary background checks due to a surge in amnesty applications as a result of President Obama’s executive action last year.

If DHS cannot manage a few hundred thousand temporary amnesty applications, it is scary to think about how it will handle 10 million or more amnesty applications that would occur as a result of the Senate’s immigration reform bill.

Under the Senate’s immigration bill, the majority of the estimated 11.5 million unlawful immigrants would get provisional immigrant status after passing a background check. Not going to happen if DHS can’t keep up with the sudden surge. ICE admitted in March that it has released more than 2,000 unlawful immigrants, including serious offenders. ,Since those released are no longer confined in immigration jails, who knows if they will turn up for their court hearings.

The U.S Judicial Conference, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary has issued a scathing letter on the enormous costs and problems the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill would create for the court system involving enforcement, legalization, immigration courts and E-Verify.

The talking points about the “path to citizenship,” offer many barriers that illegal immigrants must pass to receive “earned legalization,” but the barriers have no teeth, the path is phony, and the record of adherence to the rules— by the administration— is bleak.

  • They must pass background checks. DHS does not have the ability to handle present amnesty applications, a surge of 11 million is impossible.
  • They must learn English. The 1986 law required this, but in practice attendance at a  handful of classes was sufficient, INS weakened the requirement after the law was passed, last time, and exempted many.
  • They must pay back taxes. Those who have been working off the books have no history with the IRS about back taxes. The requirement is that illegals must come clean with the IRS, but if there’s no record? So the idea is sign up and we’ll send the IRS after you? That’s sure to work.
  • They must pay a fee and a fine. Mr. Obama called it a ‘penalty’, but a fee is meant to cover the cost of administering amnesty. How much? To be decided by DHS. The fine or penalty was $500, then another $500 six years later, and if a person wants to switch from provisional status to green card status, there’s another $1,000. Lots of exceptions and waivers. If you came in under age 16, you don’t have to pay, or if you’re under 21, or on welfare. The original bill grants non-profits $150 million to help illegals apply for amnesty.
  • They must go to the back of the line.  Those approved for provisional legal status immediately get a work permit, Social Security account, travel documents, drivers licenses, many public benefits, and state level benefits. Those who receive amnesty are better off compared to those overseas who have applied to come to the U.S. legally. Amnesty, thus, is a powerful incentive to encourage illegal immigration. Why wait around to do it legally? We would be sending the message illegal entry is a legitimate path to US citizenship, The Border Patrol chief recently testified to Congress that even the discussion of amnesty has increased illegal immigration.

What has changed in the hastily rewritten Hoeven-Corker version, I don’t know, but you can be sure that it is all window dressing. The administration has just spent almost 5 years demonstrating that an administration does not have to abide by the rules if they don’t want to.

The Congressional Budget Office foresees a net increase of 10,4 million legal immigrants through 2023 on top of the 10 million expected under current law.  Add another 4.8 million new illegals and we could be looking at more than 25 million new immigrants in the next ten years. We have never had immigration on that scale. Never. If millions of Americans cannot find work, what are all the new people going to be doing? Lowering wages and increasing unemployment? The CBO also finds that even with stronger economic growth the bill would decrease the wages of working Americans, especially the least well off.

Here’s another interesting factoid. Sharia Law allows adherents to take the Oath of Allegiance which begins “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty to which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen… ” and lie about it. Sharia trumps American oaths, and one is free to lie to unbelievers.

Truly promising, isn’t it?



Am Immigration Plan in the National Interest? Nah! by The Elephant's Child

The latest message from the compliant media is that the Gang of Eight Immigration bill is a ‘done deal,’ it’s all over, the Hoeven-Corker amendment has changed it into something that will make it acceptable to cautious Republicans and Democrats, because we said so, no need to try to read this 1,200 page mess. “We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it— again.” Harry Reid wants to pass it on Monday.

Hopefully, the House of Representatives will reject it, chew it up distastefully, and spit it out. It is a complete fraud.  I started to write about immigration yesterday, but realized that I didn’t begin to know enough to write about it knowledgeably, so I started reading.  I went to the Center for Immigration Studies, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization, founded in 1985.

The data collected by the Center during the past quarter-century has led many of our researchers to conclude that current, high levels of immigration are making it harder to achieve such important national objectives as better public schools, a cleaner environment, homeland security, and a living wage for every native-born and immigrant worker. These data may support criticism of US immigration policies, but they do not justify ill feelings toward our immigrant community. In fact, many of us at the Center are animated by a “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” vision of an America that admits fewer immigrants but affords a warmer welcome for those who are admitted.

It’s a terrific source with reams of information. Obviously the Gang of Eight is completely unaware of any of it, or more likely, is unconcerned.  The standard estimate is that we have around 11 million illegal immigrants in the country at any one time. Mexicans are thought to represent about 55-60% of the illegal population, which is why discussion seems to revolve around Mexicans and the Southern border. The standard refrain is “You can’t deport 11 million people.”

The immigration bill is driven by the single dominating goal of the Democratic Party — winning the next election. They believe that amnesty will bring them more Democrat voters. They would prefer open borders, but will settle for a pretense of securing the borders that will never happen. Every border security effort proposed  has been part of previous bills, but never enforced, or funded, and the present bill is just more of the same, with security that will never happen. The illegal population is usually thought of in the full stadium model — as a big bunch of people, but it is instead — a constantly shifting population.

north-flows-f2
(click to enlarge)

Democrats want more Democrat voters. The Tech industry wants H1-B low pay/high tech workers. Everybody seems OK with EB-5 Immigrant Investors — you invest $500,000, bring in your whole family and get green cards in 2 years. E1 and E2 —non-immigrant visas, are easily renewed, for those funding and operating businesses in the US with a value over $50,000.

If it is true that 60% of our illegal immigrant population is from Mexico, what does that indicate? Per the Democrats, perhaps we should just annex the country and be done with it. A recent Gallup survey found that 5 million Mexicans want to move here. In 2005, 22 million Mexicans told a Pew survey that they would come as guest workers. Employment prospects in Mexico and employment prospects in the United States change and affect the movement of populations, as do changes in administrations.

15% of our construction workers are unemployed. Inviting more low pay workers across the border will devastate high paying jobs. It has already happened, even with the slowed pace of the construction industry. The rush to satisfy employers’ appetite for cheaper foreign workers will be devastating for young Americans. The statistics that CIS has on STEM graduates suggests that employers’ claims that they can’t find well-trained graduates may not be entirely accurate.

Claims that there has been a big drop in numbers crossing the border illegally may not be true. There have been big surges in the Rio Grande valley, but the Border Patrol is not allowed to stop them, the surge began in the summer of 2012. 98% of the 550,000 individuals on the terrorist watch list are foreign born. 10,000-20,000 of those reside in the United States. The 13 most notorious terrorism arrests since 2009 involved naturalized U.S. citizens.

So  how about immigration reform in the national interest? One New York Times headline read “Labor and Business Reach Deal on Immigration Issue.”Business wanted 400,000 new low-skill workers visas, but settled for a number that could reach a 200,000 ceiling.”

The number one concern of the American people is jobs. There seems to be a disconnect here.



From Out of the Memory Hole: A Reminder. by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama, 2009. That was before he discovered just how inconvenient “transparency” could be, and dumped it under the proverbial bus. It seemed like a good idea, but that meant those disagreeable Republicans could find out what he was doing, and that is and was — inconvenient. No longer transparent but more like a stonewall, with carefully placed occasional small windows to view chosen elements that portray the work of the administration in a favorable light. Barack Obama morphs into Barack O’Blameless.



Obama’s Regulations Add $14,768 to Your Family Budget! by The Elephant's Child

For twenty years, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has tracked the growth of new regulations. In the 20th anniversary edition this week, the latest annual Index of Federal Rules shows that — Team Obama is now the red tape record holder. Are you surprised?

The pages in the Code of Federal Regulation hit an all-time high of 174,545 pages in 2012, an increase of more than 21% in the last decade. Mr Crews estimates that in 2012 the cost of  federal rules exceeded $1.8 trillion, roughly equal to the GDP of Canada. This is what American business has to cope with. The costs are embedded in nearly everything Americans buy. Mr. Crews calculates the costs to add up to about $14,768 per household. After housing, red tape costs are the second largest item in the family budget.

It’s not just the cost of the regulatory burden, there are that many regulations that must be obeyed, or the over-regulation will lead to over-criminalization. You won’t know what rule you broke until the swat-team comes to get you.

Every so often some member of Congress will gather up a selection of silly regulations and make speeches, or perhaps even write a bill. But there is no regular avenue for disposing of unnecessary regulation. If you remember, there was a fuss raised a while back, over business’s protests about excessive regulation. President Obama said he’d assign all his cabinet officers to find regulations that they could get rid of to save money. Mr. Obama got considerable mileage out of the farm rule that treated spilled milk as a hazardous oil spill (butterfat, I guess).  Since he used that one example several times, I assume that there really weren’t any others removed from the Federal Register.

Last year, 4,062 regulations were at various stages of implementation in the nation’s capitol. The government completed work on 1,172, an increase of 16% over the previous year, which was a 40% increase in the year before that. President Obama ‘s record 78,961 pages churned out in 2012 mean that he has posted three of the four greatest paperwork years on record.

“Economically significant” rules are those that will cost at least $100 million each. The current administration is in a class by itself. The bureaucracy finished up 57 such rules in 2012 and another 167 are in the pipeline.  They come from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and the EPA’s effort to use regulation to impose an anti-carbon-fuels agenda that Congress would not pass.

It’s the pure totalitarian impulse, of course. Nothing so frightens the Left as individual freedom. Give the people an inch and there’s no telling what they might do. Control is the goal. How can they enforce equality, social justice and make sure that” everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules,” if they don’t carefully spell out just what the rules are.

What we need is a mechanism to get rid of useless rules, outdated rules, unneeded rules, and intrusive, damaging rules. Much-needed housekeeping. The underlying problem is that Congress likes to dispose of problems with massive bills that include all sorts of unrelated amendments, things that couldn’t have been passed alone, and the old ‘nobody’s read the whole thing’ problem. They say that this agency will and that department shall, but they don’t actually make laws themselves — they distribute it to the bureaucracy who will make the rules that fill up the Federal Register. It’s how we get Big Government and why it keeps getting Bigger.




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