American Elephants


Here’s What Close Air Support Looks Like by The Elephant's Child

Let’s hear it for the venerable A-10 Warthog. Old and ugly, but beloved by the troops for it can get up close and personal with the enemy. The Air Force wants to retire the planes, which are currently needed, in favor of turning the upkeep funds towards the next generation F-35, which seems to constantly be in need of more money. This video gives an idea of what it can do. Put it on full screen and enjoy.  Representative Martha McSally (R-Arizona) a retired Air Force Colonel who has been an A-10 pilot is fighting to keep the Air Force from retiring the A-10 thirteen years ahead of schedule.

ADDENDUM: 5/14 – Detachments of U.S. warplanes are operating throughout the Baltic region, sending a reassuring message to our allies—and a warning to Russia. Defense wonks call it a theatre security package or TSP. This is a first in Europe. Previous ones have been deployed to Asia. They are actively conducting surveillance and intelligence gathering missions, which we know because a Russian SU–27 almost collided with an American surveillance airplane, the Boeing RC–135U. Its specialty is collecting intel on opposing radar, by spotting and analyzing emissions from the ground. It provides a vital map of the location and types of radar that guard Russian borders.



The President Has Again Tried to Circumvent the Constitutional System of Lawmaking. by The Elephant's Child
May 12, 2015, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Among the publications of the Hoover Institution is an online magazine called Peregrine, which includes short pieces by Hoover fellows. This one about Obama’s use of his executive power by William Suter is particularly interesting:

President Obama is not the first President to use his executive power aggressively. President Lincoln used an Executive Order in 1861 to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court held that his action was unconstitutional. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to change the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1937 in order to gain favorable votes for his New Deal legislation. His “Court packing” plan was rejected by Congress and the voters. President Truman seized steel mills in 1952 to avert a strike because the mills were needed to support the Korean War. The Supreme Court held that his takeovers were unconstitutional. Previously, Truman acted courageously by issuing an Executive Order in 1948 that desegregated the armed forces. In that instance, he was on solid legal ground because the Constitution states that the President is the “commander in chief of the Army and Navy.” President Obama attempted to make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 when the Senate clearly was not in recess. His reason for doing this was that the Senate would not confirm his nominees. He acted as though he was the first President to be treated rudely by the Senate. Not so! His crude attempt was an insult to the Constitution. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that his appointments were void.

Congress also uses its power aggressively. An example is the Senate’s late-night manipulation of rules to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in 2010. That embarrassing episode rivaled the famous 1972 Olympic Gold Medal basketball game when three seconds were mysteriously added to the clock, enabling the Soviet Union to defeat the United States. …

President Obama, emboldened by his record of changing laws – including provisions of the Affordable Care Act – decided in November 2014 to bring about his vision of immigration reform, not through Congress, but by use of executive fiats. For years, he maintained that he had no legal authority to change immigration laws. The sweeping election wins by Republicans a few weeks earlier apparently caused the President to change his mind. The largest category of people affected by the President’s executive “Presidential memos” is an estimated population of five million illegal immigrants who have been in this country for five or more years and have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal citizens. If they pass a background check and pay their taxes, the President offers a 3-year temporary status of “deferred action” regarding deportation along with work permits. The President’s purported legal authority to do this is his power of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors have such authority in individual cases, but no one can seriously think that authority is applicable on such a grand scale. What the President is doing is refusing to execute the law. He has no more authority to do this than he would to exempt corporations from paying income taxes. He cannot change the law.

As one writer put it, “This move by President Obama is not a sign of righteous impatience; it is proof that he has failed at that most basic of tasks – working with Congress.” The President has created a constitutional crisis when there was no need to do so. That is regrettable. (emphasis added)



The Obama Administration’s Immigration Actions Are In A Bit of Trouble! by The Elephant's Child
May 12, 2015, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

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On Monday 113 Republicans in Congress joined in the court battle over President Obama’s latest moves to give amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Texas and 5 other states have challenged the legality of Obama’s unilateral actions, arguing that the president has gone too far with his attempts to accomplish his immigration goals with executive power alone, He has halted deportations and granted work permits to certain groups of illegal immigrants.

The Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), are siding squarely with the states, arguing Obama’s executive action “changes the law and sets a new policy, exceeding the executive’s constitutional authority and disrupting the delicate balance of powers.”

“Congress has created a comprehensive immigration scheme — which expresses its desired policy as to classes of immigrants — but the class identified by the [Homeland Security Department] directive for categorical relief is unsupported by this scheme,” the lawmakers wrote in an amicus brief filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

“Instead of setting enforcement priorities,” they added, “it created a class-based program that establishes eligibility requirements that, if met, grant unlawful immigrants a renewable lawful presence in the United States and substantive benefits.”

The amicus brief was endorsed by 113 Republicans, including Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz from Texas, Representatives Trey Gowdy (SC), Tom Price (GA), Michael McCaul (TX) chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Lamar Smith (TX) the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The court fight centers on two executive actions taken by Obama shortly after November’s midterm elections. One, called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program halts deportations and gives work permits to the parents of U .S. citizens and permanent legal residents. The other expands Obama’s 2012 program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative to a greater number of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as kids. Combined, the programs defer deportation for more than  4 million illegal immigrants.

The states sued the administration over those programs, arguing that they mark a case of illegal executive overreach that would saddle them with exorbitant new costs.

In February U .S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of Brownsville, Texas found that the states had legitimate standing to bring their case. He blocked the programs temporarily for what he said was a violation of the federal law allowing public comment when new rules are established. His initial decision prevented the administration from moving forward with the programs, including the processing of applications.

Last Thursday, the plot thickened. President Obama’s lawyers admitted that they had broken the court’s February 16th injunction that halted the administration’s amnesty and issued thousands of work permits even after Judge Hanen had ordered the program stopped. Judge Hanen  has not yet ruled, but administration lawyers are facing sanctions for their continued problems in arguing the case.

Justice Department lawyers admitted that an immigration agency had approved about 2,000 applications for three-year work permits. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had repeatedly assured Congress that they had halted the program and were complying with the court order. Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said “The last time I checked, injunctions are not mere suggestions. They are not optional.: He has written to Sec. Johnson asking the department to turn over all its communications about implementing the three-year policy.

The article from The Hill oddly omits any mention of the ‘little slip-up’ by Justice Department lawyers and the Department of Homeland Security in issuing thousands of work permits in direct violation of the court injunction.

President Obama has decided that he can ignore our immigration laws, apparently because he didn’t learn anything in law school, or because he confuses the powers and duties of the presidency with other of the world’s dictators, or he just believes that no one can stop him. Stay tuned.This whole thing is going to get a lot more interesting.



Overregulation Matters! Here’s Why, And How It Affects You. by The Elephant's Child
May 12, 2015, 6:34 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

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“Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, the same number as the previous week. That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.”

The American people send $1.4 trillion to Washington D.C. every year in individual income taxes. Big numbers are inclined to leave us somewhat numb. It’s very big, but we can’t really relate. Yet we send even more to Washington for another obligation that never shows up on our tax returns. The annual cost that is imposed on us by federal rules and regulations adds up to nearly $1.9 trillion. That burden works out to a staggering $14,976 per household per year. It’s hidden in the costs you pay for the goods and services you use.

Nobody objects to the ruling about a railing at the edge of the stairs so you aren’t apt to fall, but when the federal government decides that the calorie count of each ingredient in your pizza must be posted in your favorite pizza parlor—think of the cost when every restaurant in a chain must now make and post a sign with who knows how many ingredients. And then all Americans must be policed to be sure you are following the rules. The cost of American rules now exceeds the Gross Domestic Product of Canada.

President Obama has racked up the two highest annual totals in U.S. history, exceeding 81,000 pages in 2010 and 2011. A “major rule” is one that has an economic impact of $100 million or more. Mr. Obama has averaged 81 major rules a year so far. Regulations are more burdensome for small employers than big companies, but regulations can even put small businesses out of business. If you wonder why the economy is doing so poorly, or why there is still so much unemployment, there you go.

It all sounds very abstract, and it’s hard to understand how it relates to us. Those who are so sure of their own superiority cannot resist the urge to try to fix the American people. In their demand for equality for everyone, they find it impossible to stop meddling. Republicans celebrate the free market, recognizing that millions of decisions about buying and selling, coveting and hating work out to different language — the wisdom of crowds. That’s why Progressives hate the free market. They can’t control it. Who knows what the stupid people might do.




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