American Elephants

Just a Simple Question. Please, Just a Straight Answer. by The Elephant's Child

Secretary Jeh Johnson is the new chief of Homeland Security. This morning David Gregory tried to get a straight answer to a simple question about the influx of illegal immigrants on the Southern border.

“Will the Illegal Children Be Deported?”


In Your Words, Mr. President, “That’s Not How a Democracy Works!” by The Elephant's Child


From Breitbart:

May 10, 2011. President Barack Obama spoke about immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, TX. In that speech he vowed to “keep up the fight” to pass comprehensive reform through Congress.

“Sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself, but that’s not how a democracy works,” Obama said. “What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform. That is the ultimate solution to this problem. That’s what I’m committed to doing.”

That was then, this is now: Monday in the White House rose garden Obama vowed to do everything in his power to bypass Congress on immigration law saying he was starting”a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.

From The Daily Caller:

The vast majority of 50,000 unaccompanied youths and children who have illegally crossed the Texas border during the last few months have been successfully delivered by federal agencies to their relatives living in the United States, according to a New York Times article.

A second New York Times article report revealed that officials have caught an additional 240,000 Central American migrants since April, and are transporting many of them to their destinations throughout the United States.

The 290,000 illegals — so far — are exploiting legal loopholes that allow them to get temporary permits to stay in the United States.

Top immigration officials have chosen not to check if the relatives or parents who pick up the children are in the country legally.

Redistribution Doesn’t Work, And American’s Know It. by The Elephant's Child


Here’s a great Fourth of July weekend message for Americans:

The White House has all but abandoned a message
of income inequality it had focused on last year.
It turns out Americans are not moved by the topic
and prefer a message based on opportunity.

This is a very big deal indeed. Barack Obama has called income inequality a “fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe.” This is a burning issue for liberals. They depend on class envy, hatred for the rich, compassion for the poor, and the never-ending leftist effort to make everybody equal — except for the wise experts who will run everything, of course. And ordinary Americans just don’t care. They would rather have more jobs and more opportunity.

In 2013, income inequality was the top narrative for the White House, but they abruptly switched away from it. Democratis strategists and their pollsters concluded that they should focus less on the wealth gap and more on emphasizing that all Americans shoud have economic “opportunity” to get ahead or a “fair shot”. Oh yes, we remember Mr. Obama’s constant refrain about “an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” Another iteration of equality.

Last year White House political research showed that income inequality was a wonky term that did not always resonate with voters, but Obama insisted on speaking about it anyway.

That focus culminated in a December speech in a low-income neighborhood in Southeast Washington, where he referenced inequality 26 times and discussed academic findings on the gap between the wealthy and the poor.

“He wasn’t particularly interested in knowing whether that was a good economic message,” said one person familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations. “He wanted to sound alarm and put voice behind that.”

But as 2014 loomed, White House strategists concluded that inequality was not registering with voters on its own.

It’s the phrase, you see. “Income inequality ” doesn’t have a ‘personal immediacy’ and there are other things that are much more immediate and tangible and more real to people. It’s a matter of getting the right phrase. What they want, of course, are more taxes on wealthier Americans in order to give more benefits to poorer Americans. It’s just a matter of figuring out what phrases will be most compelling. It is a matter of feelings — what will resonate with voters emotionally. They will test a variety of words and phrases to see what resonates.

What they will not do is investigate to what extent inequality matters. “Claims about the supposed harm done by rising income inequality are rarely substantiated, and a comprehensive read of the evidence as to inequality’s consequences offers little cause for alarm.”

Income inequality is a thing of graphs, charts and statistics. Politicans look at the statistics and are sure that it represents dire circumstances for the poor and nasty greed of the wealthy. They create remedies based on statistics that represent an average across the country,and try to legislate a correction. Fifty years ago Lyndon Johnson began a $20 trillion War on Poverty. Fifty years later, the overall percentage of impoverished people in the U.S. has declined only 2 percent. When the War on Poverty began, about 6 percent of children were born outside of marrige. Today it is 42 percent and a catastrophe. The incentives of welfare encourage recipients to stay on welfare forever, and that creates a pathology of crime, drugs, incarceration.

Income inequality has not gone away as a goal of the Left. It is merely seeking a new disguise. Just another shift in the permanent effort of the Left to make everybody equal — except for the ruling class of wise experts who will direct and control everything. A growing economy offers opportunity for all.

Words, Dictionaries, Democrats and Demagogues by The Elephant's Child

(Reposted from 2013)

Theoretically, we share a common vocabulary, and with a dictionary handy to look up the big words, we shouldn’t have too much trouble understanding each other. That’s a sentence that can be shot down in nothing flat. Conservatives and Liberals often do not speak the same language. Conservatives refer to their principles and try to say what they mean fairly effectively. Liberals don’t have principles, (they have told us so) and respond to events on a circumstantial basis. However, Liberals are far more careful with their choice of words — they have talking points.

I don’t know just how this works, I assume they have a word shop over at the Center for American Progress where cubicles of scribes pick ‘the word’ in response to the current event.

For example, a Colorado recall election just booted two Legislators out of office: John Morse, who was president of the senate, and Angela Giron, from a heavily Democratic district, both of whom were behind a gun control measure. They were heavily financed by Bloomberg’s Governors for Gun Control bunch. When they were recalled by a substantial vote, Democrats were shocked.

DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz quickly announced that it was “voter suppression.” Defeated senator Angela Giron went on CNN to whine extensively, all but bursting into tears, claiming over and over that it was “voter suppression.” This is not a coincidence. Democrats come up with good, powerful, words, which are issued as talking points.

This is why Democrats stopped being “liberals” and became “progressives” instead. The word “liberal” had become tainted with sleazy politics, and “progressive” was associated with “progress” as in the century-old administration of Woodrow Wilson.

This is why so many Democrat ideas are expressed in very effective bumper-stickers, and why Republicans have trouble explaining economic realities. The question is “minimum wage,” Democrats respond “living wage” while Republicans patiently explain that the minimum wage is meant for beginning workers, who usually get promoted in 6 months, and raising the minimum means more teens and beginners out of work. It’s really hard to compete with simple and emotional.

A particularly interesting word is demagoguery. Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on their rational side.

Demagoguery is a manipulative approach — often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians — that appeals to the worst nature of people. Demagoguery isn’t based on reason, issues, and doing the right thing, it’s based on stirring up fear and hatred to control people. For example, a politician who stirs up a fear of immigrants to distract from other issues is using demagoguery. Demagoguery is one of the most negative aspects of politics, but it’s also one that’s all too common.

Every politician has a bit of the demagogue in them, it’s just a matter of degree. Adherents of each party are apt to refer to their opposite number as a demagogue, so the word is used freely and carelessly. Yet there is a clear definition, and there are clear examples of skillful demagoguery:

This is the most outstanding example of a pure appeal to the emotions and prejudices I have ever seen. It is not based on reason or the issues, or doing the right thing. It’s all feelings. If you look for meaning — there is no meaning there. “Change we can believe in” What is it you are changing? “We are the change we seek” What does that mean? “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Huh? “Yes we can.” Can what? This is ‘call and response’ borrowed from black preachers. “We are the hope of the future.” “That we cannot remake this world as it should be.”

Barack Obama said — nothing, nothing at all. There is not one specific in the entire speech, at best only a vague “our house cannot stand divided.” He said “A hymn that will heal the world,”and he has his audience in the palm of his hand, wildly cheering “Yes we Can” without the slightest idea of what it is that they Can. This is a masterful demonstration of how to arouse and manipulate an audience. It will go down in history as the perfect definition of demagoguery.

We, ladies and gentlemen, were had.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mishandled Their Budget —And Lost the Documentation! by The Elephant's Child


The ever-compassionate liberals in the administration felt that those dumb Americans out there needed a government agency to protect them from being defrauded by financial institutions. They created the brand new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to look into abuse complaints filed by consumers. Money matters are hard.

Therefore, you should not be surprised that the aforenamed Bureau developed to help consumers with matters financial —  has just been investigated over mishandling of their budget. They decided to renovate the CFPB headquarters in Washington D.C., but a report from the Inspector General for the Board of Governors and subsequently released by the House Financial Services Committee on Oversight and Investigations, said that the CFPB failed to secure funding approval. The report concludes that the entire renovation project has “no sound basis” at all. With updated costs calculated, the project is expected to total $215 million dollars, amounting to $120 million dollars in purely excess spending.

CFPB didn’t follow its own guidelines for obtaining approval for the renovation, and the Inspector General was unable to locate any documentation on the decision to renovate the bureau’s headquarters at all. The square footage of the CFPB renovations are calculated to cost $590 per square foot, which can be compared to $334 per square foot for the Trump World Tower, and $330 for the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. And like the IRS and the EPA, the CPFB has also lost their documentation. It seems to be a communicable disease around Washington.

When the Dodd-Frank Act passed, Democrats in Congress and the White House made the CPFB unaccountable to taxpayers and to Congress. The result of that boneheaded decision is that you now have a Washington bureaucracy spending as much as they want on whatever they want.

The head of the CFPB, one Richard Cordray, was appointed during a “Congressional Recess” when Congress was in session, so the agency had to have a do-over by court order. In only two years the CFPB grew from zero to 900 employees. They devised a 1,099 page proposal to streamline the mortgage process. The creation of the blueprint for a more “consumer-friendly” mortgage is described in a 533-page report titled “Evolution of the integrated TILA-Respa disclosures.” They found the most effective way to reduce confusion surrounding the APS (annual percentage rate) was to add the simple statement “This is not your interest rate.” They hired an outside organization to redesign the mortgage documents at a cost of nearly $900,000. For the next year, 2013, they requested a 32% budget increase to $448 million.

This has been another milestone in Congress’ ceaseless quest to protect us from ourselves, Congress in 2009 compelled credit card companies to confirm an applicant’s ability to pay before approving an account. Lawmakers apparently decided that Visa, MasterCard, Discover and others somehow lacked the incentive to manage their own credit risk (as opposed to the elected officials who had racked up $1.2 trillion added to the national debt that year).

In the name of consumer protection, the CFPB, in a stunning repeat of the conditions that led to the mortgage crisis, has demanded that Banks forget prudent banking rules and expand fair lending —or else! They have put out a 48-page “Fair Lending Report” which urges banks to review home, automobile, business and student lending data for “racial disparities in pricing  and underwriting. It also advised banks to put staff through racial sensitivity training and to aggressively market loans in recession-torn urban areas. The report mentions “discrimination” no fewer than 51 times, and warns lenders that CFPB regulators, with federal prosecutors, will be launching reviews of their lending practices. I’m so glad we have a financially sophisticated agency to help poor dumb consumers obtain loans that they will not be able to afford to pay off, but I worry that they are not financially sophisticated enough to know that we have been through this all before.

CFPB chief Richard Cordray says he is coming up with new rules to crack down on creditors and their-party debt collectors who “hound” black borrowers more frequently than white ones. The agency solicited more than 30,000 complaints that allegedly prove creditors are abusing debtors. But they just took borrowers’ word that they don’t owe what they owe. A recent federal study shows that more than 96% of such complaints are “frivolous.”

Redistributing wealth by letting debtors and deadbeats off the hook for their debts is not helpful for the economy, for blacks, nor for the national polity.

The Dodd-Frank bill was widely criticized as a response to the financial crisis, because it did nothing to deal with “Too Big to Fail” bailouts. The famous “toxic assets” we heard so much about were loans made to people who could not afford to repay them, because of Democrat demands that bankers ignore the rules of prudent banking, and overlook minimum credit scores in order to increase home ownership among minorities.

The American Bankers Association has issued a “fair lending toolbox” to its 5,000 members to help them avoid disparate impact probes. Credit Unions are also worried. The CFPB is about perceptions, not facts. I don’t know if they have their own SWAT team yet.

If minorities have trouble getting loans, the response should be to give them help in raising their credit scores and living within their means — not forcing banks to make riskier loans. We’ve been there and done that, and it didn’t work out well for the taxpayers or for minorities.

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