American Elephants


Obama Announced A New Agenda: “Smart Government!” by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama presented a new management agenda to distract whoever is still thinking about the NSA, various kinds of government surveillance, or paying attention to the outrage of France’s President Hollande who is shocked, shocked that the Unites States would sink so low as to engage in spying. The President wants his administration to be brimming over with new technology. He said when he first came to the White House he had a hard time keeping his Blackberry. Blackberry?

He has appointed the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, Steve VanRoekel, who is working briskly “to innovate and apply the best technology to help solve some of our biggest challenges — from creating jobs to reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure.”Well, there you go. A little technology will surely fix those challenges right up.

The American people, who apparently can’t be bothered to read the Bill of Rights, can now search through 75,000 data sets at Data.gov — “data on everything from what different hospitals charge for different procedures, to credit card complaints, to weather and climate measurements.”

You can even download from HHS data about health care providers that will help you find the closest doctors and hospitals. Your phone book might be out-of-date.

If there is one thing that governments aren’t good at, it is smart management. There is a long, long history. They are not good at innovation. They are not good about writing big important laws —Lord knows we have enough evidence of that. The reason our Constitution is so successful and has lasted so long, is because it gave the government only a few tasks to mess up. And the more they mess up one policy or program  the more need they feel to take on more.

Public Resource.org revealed this week that the IRS, yes that IRS, which is soon to take on the task of managing all of our medical records, has inadvertently exposed the Social Security numbers of as many as 100,000 taxpayers on a government website.

Just gives you all sorts of confidence, doesn’t it?



Passions Aroused for Political Purposes by The Elephant's Child

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The nation is focused on the Zimmerman trial, with people passionately rooting for one side or the other. This is a court of law, and the outcome will be decided by Florida law, the evidence presented, and the decision of the jurors — not by emotions aroused in the community. Theoretically, we left that behind with the witch trials and frontier justice.  How did it get to be such an emotional matter?

The Department of Justice played a major behind-the-scenes role in organizing protests against George Zimmerman. The Department deployed their unit called the Community Relations Service to Sanford, FL, to organize and manage rallies against George Zimmerman. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 24, 2012:  Among their findings as reported by Bryan Preston:

  • March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
  • March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
  • April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
  • April 11-12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old African-American male.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?

The Community Relations Service’s stated mission is conducting “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution, ” but engaged instead on the side of anti-Zimmerman protesters. American taxpayers might object to taxpayer funds directed to paying government employees to organize racially charged demonstrations. Organizing protests and street theater to obtain desired ends is what community organizers do.

Lots of protests in March and April, and across many parts of the country , Maryland, Michigan, Chicago, Alabama white people were assaulted, at least 14 known attacks, by blacks claiming anger over the death of Trayvon Martin. Race hustlers have mad the most of it, and there have been calls for riots if Zimmerman is acquitted. This was all in the Spring of 2012.  Is it possible that protests were encouraged to boost discord before the election? The death toll for African-American children and teenagers in Chicago keeps mounting, but I haven’t read of any protests or demonstrations in Chicago.

Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish, has an interesting analysis of the case, but very class-based. I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea of an America divided up by “class” — we have always been an opportunity society with people starting off poor as they complete their schooling and begin to make their way in the world and moving through the classes.  I’ll leave the divisions to the IRS. We have kids born in the projects who rise to sit on the Supreme Court or become movie stars, famous ball-players, musicians, generals, corporate CEOs and famous neurosurgeons.

It was said by investigators, at the time of the arrest, that there was not enough evidence to charge George Zimmerman with Second Degree Murder, but the Justice Department insisted on the more serious charge.

You will notice in the photograph at the top that not only are all the signs printed, but everyone has a printed Trayvon tee shirt. Why was the trial all about race? And who benefited from the protests and demonstrations?




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