American Elephants


The Imperial Non-Negotiator: My Way or the Highway! by The Elephant's Child

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“Republican House leaders are still stunned by President Obama’s in-your-face phone call to Speaker John Boehner late Friday to warn that the White House won’t negotiate on a debt-ceiling increase. The Bravado and arrogance has further antagonized GOP members.” So began Stephen Moore’s piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Chest-thumping? An attempt to embody a more macho-manly character? He is completely conciliatory with Vladimir Putin who is always running around Russia  ruggedly doing manly things with his shirt off, yet with Speaker Boehner, Obama is going to be really, really tough. No negotiations. My way or the highway. Don’t even ask.

Saturday morning, in his weekly address, Mr. Obama explained briefly how he had rescued the economy, created 7½ million new jobs, saved America from its addiction to foreign oil, slowed the staggering growth of health care costs, and in just a week, millions of Americans without health care will be able to be insured for less than $100 a month. And now, having saved the country, he will turn to saving the middle class, as soon as he gives Congress their marching orders. Debt ceiling chicken?

The most basic Constitutional duty Congress has is passing a budget. If it doesn’t pass one before September 30th — a week from Monday—the government will shut down.

We won’t pay the military, federal loans will be frozen (did you have a mortgage?) New home buyers can forget it, Federal loans, small business owners— we will see that  you suffer! No more life-saving discoveries, wind turbines will shut down, and anything we can think of that you might like will be turned off and blamed on Republicans.

When Obama spoke to the Business Roundtable on September 18 , he said:

You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt used to extort a president of a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.

That got 4 Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact checker. Congress has been doing what Obama says it has never done since at least 1973. That year Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale made a campaign finance reform bill a condition of raising the debt ceiling. Over the years since then 25 non-germane amendments were added, though not all passed. Negotiation is how the Founders intended for things to work. They knew that people would disagree, but in negotiation and bargaining, all would come to something that was right for the country and about which everyone could at least accept, if not really agree. Mr. Obama has never really understood the office he holds, and it is always about him, not the country.

The savings in the budget that Obama now brags about, came because of the sequester, which the Democrats hate. Obama has run up the debt by more than $5 trillion. Yet Democrats are absolutely intransigent about cutting back anywhere — in a government oozing waste and fraud, rot and corruption from every orifice.

Mr Obama wants a fight with Republicans so he can blame a shutdown on Republicans. He thinks a threat of default will cause voters to rally around him, as did the 1995 budget battle between Bill Clinton and Republicans. It is not about what is good for the country, it is, once again, all about Obama. He is a fierce competitor, and he plans to win.



Milton Friedman: “Incentives for Immoral Behavior” by The Elephant's Child

Incentives matter. When you get the incentives wrong, you can expect things to go wrong. Sometimes people even end up dead.



Please Let a Crisis Go To Waste. Act Slowly and Thoughtfully Instead. by The Elephant's Child

A Memorial Service was held yesterday for the victims of the Navy Yard shooting. The president gave an emotional speech, sharing the sorrow of the victims families, friends and co-workers.  He is good at that, and his words are usually well-received.

Mindful of his training in Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, and Lenin’s rules, however, the president is loath to allow any crisis to go to waste. When emotions are high, it’s the best time to push people to get involved in banning guns. And it’s true. An emotional event can get people to want to — do something.

The midst of a crisis is the worst possible time to attempt to decide what to do to stop the next one. Laws made in the throes of emotion usually turn out to be bad laws. Aaron Alexis, the shooter, was apparently emotionally disturbed. People instantly want to make laws to put crazy people somewhere were they can’t hurt anyone. Well, of course. But mental health is not a cut-and-dried situation. We don’t know very much about how to fix people.

The Left always assumes that the answer to any problem is another government program or a new law. And the government seldom does anything well, except for increasing the power of the administrative state. Aaron Alexis passed a background check for purchasing a gun with no problem. Washington D.C. has draconian gun laws. Alexis passed through the special security arrangements at the Navy Yard. The Navy Yard is, as are all Military bases and facilities — a gun free zone. In 1993, one of Bill Clinton’s first actions on taking office was to ban guns at all military installations.

Aaron Alexis had a special secret security clearance that allowed him access to the Navy Yard. He had lied on his enlistment form about prior arrests, and nobody checked. He had quite a number of run-ins with police, but received an honorable discharge and was hired as a defense contractor in 2012. A D.C. Rapid Response team was told to stand down. Is there a pattern of governmental success here?

When an American ambassador and his technology chief were being killed in Benghazi, the workers at the consulate under fire, and the two former SEALS trying to rescue them, another Rapid Response Team was told to stand down. And the rescued workers have been ordered to speak to no one about what happened.

President Obama wants to fix all this by banning guns for everyone — except the government, of course. He could immediately lift the order banning guns at all military bases. That would remedy the situation at the Navy Yard, and at Fort Hood. Oddly enough, gun-free zones seem to create an incentive for shooters. They are inclined to avoid places where people are armed. I am not suggesting that nothing should be done, and clearly when people are a danger to society, they should be removed from society — but did anyone beg that the recent shooters be locked up before they did their shooting? Did anyone know that they were dangerous? Does anyone have sensible suggestions on what to do and how it could be accomplished?

Bureaucrats and demagogues are always ready to do something, but they have way more faith in government’s abilities than I do.



Bwa-Ha -Ha-Ha, ha by The Elephant's Child

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The Left prides itself on being ready to respond to circumstances, active, alert. They aren’t stuck with fusty old principles to guide their actions, like the dreaded Republicans who are stuck in their old tired ways.  Not modern.

Confronted with a difficult election next year because black voters in their base are beginning to notice that after 5 years of promises from the Obama administration, their situation has not improved — they need a new issue — and have lighted upon photo ID for voters.

Requiring voters to show photo ID when they vote is clearly then, a way to keep poor blacks from voting. If they are poor and don’t have a car, then they won’t have photo ID, or won’t be able to afford it, and will be kept from voting. Voter suppression!

It’s Jim Crow again. Mild response that photo ID is free at any drivers license bureau, that you need photo ID to open a bank account, cash a check, take a trip, enter a courthouse, or get through the front door of Obama’s Justice Department building, has not slowed down Democrat’s emphasis on voter suppression.

You need photo ID to sign up for ObamaCare!




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