American Elephants

The Top Ten Ways Liberalism Makes America Worse by The Elephant's Child

The Continuing Problems With Obama’s Legacy by The Elephant's Child

—There’s the security agreement that President Obama signed with China’s President Xi Jinping to end the cyber attacks. That one lasted one day. The very next day seven companies were attacked by Deep Panda, a hacker group code name used by security researchers for the Chinese military.

The two leaders agreed that “neither country’s government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” according to a summit fact sheet.

Additionally, the two sides agreed to cooperate in investigating cyber crime and to hold high-level talks on the issue.

“The very first intrusion conducted by China-affiliated actors after the joint Xi-Obama announcement at the White House took place the very next day—Saturday, Sept. 26th,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, a co-founder founder of CrowdStrike. “We detected and stopped the actors, so no exfiltration of customer data actually took place, but the very fact that these attempts occurred highlights the need to remain vigilant despite the newly minted cyber agreement.”

—The Sixth Circuit has stopped the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule on the grounds that it probably exceeds the agency’s legal authority.

The EPA rule, issued in May, extends federal jurisdiction over tens of millions of acres of private land that had been regulated by the states. In August a federal judge in North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction in 13 of the 31 states that have sued to block the rule, and the Sixth Circuit has now echoed that legal reasoning by enjoining the rule nationwide. …

The rule empowers the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA to micromanage any creek, pond or prairie pothole with a “significant nexus” to a “navigable waterway.” While the EPA’s putative objective was to define limitations on federal authority, the rule in effect gives federal agencies unfettered power. …

The truth is that the water rule like so many Obama Administration diktats offers marginal benefits at a high cost and is intended to subvert state sovereignty and expand federal dominion over private businesses. Thanks to the Sixth Circuit, at least Americans won’t have to suffer under the EPA’s regulatory burden while the case is being heard.

—The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a major study on obesity last year. Sample sizes in the studies were small, and results mixed, but it showed that obesity rates for children between two and nineteen years old hovered around 17 percent over the last decade.

The White House saw a bit of hope in one finding. Obesity rates for children between to and five years old fell from 13.0 percent to 8,4 percent from 2003-2004, to 2011-2012. The Daily Caller obtained emails through a FOIA request, and showed that the White House wanted the CDC and HHS to highlight that news, while ignoring the rest in order to emphasize Michelle’s childhood obesity project — “Let’s Move.”

The researchers thought the positive news in the study was not clear enough to emphasize, and needed more investigation. and that “Let’s Move” which began only in 2010 likely had nothing to do with it.

“Well our press release is skewed to highlight the good news per HHS request,” a CDC senior press officer, Karen Hunter, admitted in a Feb. 26, 2014 email to three others at the agency.

“This release will have a first lady quote and they are mainly wanting to focus on the decline among 2 to 5 year olds during the current administration,” she wrote in another email.

The full extent of the White House’s pressure on HHS and CDC to spin the study in favor of “Let’s Move” is not clear. Many of the 713 pages of emails are withheld, citing executive privilege invoked by the White House.

News outlets picked up on the CDC headline “Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade.” Katherine Flegal, a highly respected CDC scientist wrote:

The finding is exaggerated and questionable in a variety of ways, and the HHS press release made far too much of it. I have gotten a number of personal emails from various researchers also saying ‘What is going on here?’

I assume we will eventually find out just how completely the White House has exercised control over the agencies and offices in the federal Bureaucracy. It’s going to be very interesting. Obama has insisted that his is not an ‘Imperial Presidency.’

Bernie Sanders Misguided and Really Dumb Ideas by The Elephant's Child

How did we get here? A candidate for the presidency who is calling himself a Socialist is capturing a significant amount of support for the Democratic nomination. And they claim that Republicans are standing on the wrong side of history!  David Harsanyi said it well:

But what if there were a party whose economic case rested on undermining the most successful, poverty-reducing, prosperity creating idea ever known to mankind? What would history say about that?

We wrote in November of 2014 that “It’s the greatest achievement in actual history, and one you probably never heard about.” Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990. The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.

Bernie thinks we should imitate Denmark.  But Denmark has been rigorously working to eliminate socialism for some time. They’re now ranked a notch higher in economic freedom than we are — reflecting Denmark’s strong property rights, relative freedom from corruption, low public debt, freedom of trade and investment and a corporate tax rate that is way lower than ours.

Bernie wants free college education for everyone, universal government-run healthcare, expanded Social Security, paid family and medical leave, which adds up to some $18 trillion over ten years.

It’s a standard pattern for Democrats. You win elections by promising to give voters good stuff. That makes the Democrats feel good, because that’s what Democrats do, is give good things to the people. Because the rich don’t have enough money to pay for all the things Democrats want to give away to stroke their own egos, the gifts don’t actually lift anyone out of poverty, or give anyone a better life, or improve the economy. Innumeracy and Keynesian economics? Inattention to what is actually going on in the world?

You might instead look at Venezuela, or Cuba. Venezuela is having a hard time keeping the lights on in spite of an abundant supply of oil. Grocery store shelves are mostly bare and there are frequent riots over food distribution. Oddly enough, Hugo Chavez’s daughter has reportedly stashed away a cool $4.2 billion, but then the leaders of socialist nations usually get very rich while their people suffer. Occasionally the people string them up. Cuba is a new tourist destination for the Left. They find the charm of all those old 1950s cars irresistible and the crumbling buildings charming. But that’s all the Cubans have. John Hinderaker remarked:

Socialism is the worst idea, and the greatest tragedy, in human history. It is responsible for more than 100 million deaths and almost unimaginable suffering and poverty. And yet…somehow, it keeps making a comeback.

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