American Elephants


The Always Quotable Dr. Thomas Sowell by The Elephant's Child

“What should American immigration policy be? It doesn’t matter what any of us think that policy should be if the borders are not secure, because whoever wants to come across that border will come anyway, in defiance of whatever the policy might be.

If legal benefits are conferred on illegal immigrants before the border is secured, we may as well give up any pretense that we have an immigration policy, because benefits conferred are never going to be taken back, no matter how porous the border remains.

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Democrats’ Best Laid Plans Often Go Astray by The Elephant's Child

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Things are getting a little strange out there. The big deal today was to be the forces of good (Antifa) battling against the forces of evil (the Alt-Right better known as White Supremacy) in a dramatic confrontation. All fine, except that the Alt-Right could only come up with 24 White Supremacists and the whole thing was more or less a flop. The problem, of course, is that Conservatives are not White Supremacists, and the urgent wish of the Left to make those on the Right into racists (which they are not) just doesn’t work.

Abraham Lincoln, who was the first Republican president, freed the slaves, won the Civil War. The Southern Democrats, the party who imported slaves, established slavery as a way of life, to work Southern plantations, and intended to establish slavery throughout  America. Democrats have been trying to live down their connection to the Confederacy ever since, and the latest iteration is the attempt to turn Republicans into White Supremacists and Racists, with no basis in fact. They were sure that electing the first African–American President,  absolved them from any claims of racism.

CNN, stung by President Trump’s calling them “the enemy of the people,” and talking constantly about “fake news”roused up the far-left Boston Globe which in turn, has signed on some 128 establishment news outlets for a coordinated editorial attack against President Trump, scheduled for August 16. Which is the day after the 73rd Anniversary of VJ Day, and the end of World War II. The theory is that on August 16, some 128 strongly worded op-eds will run to attempt to convince readers into believing that criticism of the media is “unacceptable” and should not be allowed.

There’s a small problem though. Record numbers of Americans consider the news media to be “immoral,” “inaccurate,” and “biased”, according to Pew Research. A plurality of Americans, 42 percent, said that the press was “immoral”, 32 percent thought reporters were “not professional” and 31 percent thought they “don’t care about how good a job they do”. A record high of 63 percent thought reporters were “politically biased in their reporting.”

According to the Harvard Harris poll, 65 percent of voters believe there is  a lot of fake news in the mainstream media. That number includes 80% Republicans, 60% Independents and 53 % Democrats. Eighty-four percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

The American public’s trust in the media in 2016 has fallen to its lowest point since at least 1972, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday. Only 32 percent of Republicans had confidence in the media in 2015, and whose confidence dropped to 14 percent in 2016. Gallup began asking respondents whether they had trust and confidence in the media in 1972. The drop in media trust and confidence was also apparent among both young and old respondents, according to the study. 2016 is the first time in 15 years that confidence in the media among Americans 50 and older fell below 40 percent. Perhaps they might want to postpone their editorial attack on Trump until a point when somebody out there actually believes in the mainstream media.

The New York Times, desperately seeking dirt on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, did a FOIA request for the emails of Brett Kavanaugh’s wife, who is a city official in a Washington suburb, and finding nothing that could create any embarrassment shrugged and said, “We had to try.” (His wife? why?)

Now the folks at Pro-Publica, an explicitly leftist media outlet are asking people to scour their smart phone pictures in case any one caught Brett Kavanaugh at a Washington Nationals baseball game sitting with Lee Harvey Oswald or someone else disreputable.

Shocking. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in debt, buying tickets to Washington Nationals baseball games. Kavanaugh would go to games with a “handful” of friends who reimbursed him for the ticket, and the debts have been paid off. Who did Kavanaugh buy tickets for? How did they reimburse him? Was this properly disclosed? And how was all of this treated for tax purposes? Pro-Publica wants pictures to see who he was sitting with.

There has never been an American President who has been attacked so steadily and so viciously from the moment of his inauguration until today. The press has mostly not managed to cover events and accomplishments  truthfully and without prejudice. Some 128 snarky editorials on Thursday is probably not going to change the minds of Americans.



The Trump Administration is Reforming Medicare with Competition and Common Sense. by The Elephant's Child

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President Trump has approved a new medicare rule to reduce prescription drug prices through competition. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained to reporters on Saturday. Few people know that America leads the world in encouraging doctors and patients to use low-cost, high-value generic drugs. More than four-fifths of all prescriptions in the U.S. are for unbranded, off-patent generic drugs that cost less than a typical bottle of mineral water. A tremendous help for people with ordinary medical issues like high blood pressure, early-stage diabetes, and high cholesterol.

The cost problem is the high cost of branded, on-patent prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies take advantage of their market power to charge unreasonably high prices unrelated to the true clinical and economic value of the underlying medicine. The way Medicare — with four different insurance programs with different premiums and copays—covers different kinds of prescription drugs. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, including the drugs administered there. Medicare Part B, covers drugs administers in doctors” offices such as intravenous infusion. Medicare C, “Medicare Advantage”, is a new, popular, privately-administered Medicare program that covers the same services and Parts A and B. The Bush administration created a 4th Medicare program to cover retail prescription drugs from your pharmacy.

Part D has done a great job of helping competition among private insurers and drug companies to bring lower prices, and the program has come in way under budget. A novelty in U.S. history. However Medicare’s design puts a ceiling on competition because it prevents competition among retail drugs and those administered in doctors offices and hospitals.

A number of expensive drugs for rheumatoid arthritis are administered in doctors offices under Medicare Part B. Doctors get a 6% commission on the average selling price of prescription drugs they administer in their offices, which means a big incentive for doctors to steer patients to these drugs. A new generation of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are oral drugs financed through Medicare Part D. Because the different Medicare programs operate separately, seniors don’t get the benefit from competition between the new oral drugs and the older drugs covered by Part B.

The new rule allows Medicare Advantage plans to use “step therapy” under which seniors might start with an oral drug paid for by Part D, if it’s of equal clinical value but lower cost, and then step to a more expensive injectable drug if the first medicine fails to work. Insurers would be required to return at least half of the savings to seniors, possibly in the form of those Visa gift cards often sold in grocery stores and pharmacies.

This gives Medicare Advantage plans the tools to get a better deal for patients. Competition works. This is free market capitalism at its best.

There are two short books that I recommend highly, by Philip K. Howard: The Death of Common Sense and The Lost Art of Drawing the Line. He explains how government rule books (law) dictate results that never make sense. Government, with the best of intentions, hands out new legal rights that screw up something else. Intending to be fair, in the name of individual rights, Americans end up losing much of their freedom. Brilliant books that help in understanding why free market capitalism brings prosperity that simply eludes the control freaks of the world.



Nancy Pelosi Reveals the Democrat Game Plan. (Not a Winner). by The Elephant's Child

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If you listen carefully to the Democrats (you don’t have to listen a lot—just pay attention when you do) you will learn what they are up to. Listen to Nancy Pelosi, for example. Appearing on MSNBC, host Johnathan Capeheart said “There are a lot of people out there who are saying the Democrats have no message…the Democrats don’t know what they’re for, they’re against President Trump but they don’t know what they’re for.”

“Democrats are for the people. Democrats are for the people” she responded. Yes, we were told a few weeks back that would be the Democrats’ new slogan. Pelosi clearly got the message. “It means we are for the people having lower medicare costs, reducing the costs of prescription drugs. Democrats are for bigger paychecks by building the infrastructure of America, creating good paying jobs.” Unfortunately, Democrats simply do not understand the free market. Lowering medicare costs means either raising taxes,(which Pelosi has already said would be one of the first things Democrats would do when they get back in charge) or reducing benefits. The Baby Boomers are retiring and simply in their huge numbers, raising the cost of medicare. Black employment and Hispanic employment are the highest in history, so I don’t know why she would think that “infrastructure” (magic word for Dems) would improve on that.

She added that “Trump’s whole thing is ‘Make America White Again’.

“We’re going backward, and the president with all of his statements is the master of the dog whistle. Everything he has done, whether it’s taking babies out of the arms of their moms, whether it’s issues that relate to health care in our country, access to services and the rest is — his whole thing is ‘Make America White Again.’ That’s his thing. He can say a nice thing today in a tweet, but the fact is his actions speak louder than his words.”

There is pretty flimsy evidence. “Taking babies out of the arms of their mothers” has been the law in the Bush administration, in the Obama administration, and the president has sworn to uphold the law. You remember that all the cases of children in cages were taken during the Obama administration. Wanting to build a wall, the Democrats think, can be portrayed as trying to keep brown people out, rather than what it is: welcoming legal immigrants, and keeping illegals who have sneaked across the border with drugs, MS-13 killers, and people who will commit vicious crimes—out. Too many Americans have been killed by illegal immigrants. Then Dems try to add the travel ban on countries with high terrorist rates, to pretend it’s a ban on race or religion, assuming that Americans don’t know that the terrorism of ISIS and others is the result of an interpretation of radical Islam that demands that all either submit to Islam or be killed.

It is quite clear to any sane observer that there is not a racist bone in the Trump body. Unemployment for Blacks and Hispanics is the lowest in U.S. history, and well paying employment the highest in history. I have no idea where they are trying to dredge up make America white from. Some of that comes out of the black-studies college courses, the SPLC tried to promote the idea to encourage rioters at Middlebury College, it was reported. You have probably noticed that shrieks of “white supremacy”  seems to have become a fad among the illiterate. Whenever they can find a so-called “white supremacist” they make a very big deal of it.

The Lefties at Facebook and Twitter have banned Alex (Alec?) Jones, who is some kind of a kook ,for “hate speech,” but let’s say he is not exactly a Republican in good standing. I don’t know who he is.

Nancy Pelosi also accused Mitch McConnell of being “racist.”

Let me remind you that when the Republicans took power when President Obama was president of the United States, what Mitch McConnell said is the most important thing we can do is to make sure he does not succeed. If that wasn’t a racist statement — that is unthinkable. We worked with President Bush although we had our differences. You don’t make a statement to make sure the president doesn’t succeed. Why did he say that? Why did he say that?

Possibly because we were learning that President Obama clearly was a leftist whose first act was to pull the troops out of Iraq, which ruined the painful progress made there, because the war was unpopular. And it was soon made clear that President Obama’s aims were very far left indeed and opposed to everything Republicans believe in.

Clearly that is the ordained Democrat propaganda effort. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to say that President Donald Trump had made a “concerted effort” to use race to divide people.

What I think I’m most concerned about with this president is his penchant to divide us, to attack people because they’re immigrants, to attack people because of their religion, to attack minorities, to use vulgar language to describe countries where people come who might be Latino or African. There is a concerted effort that he is been engaged in to divide people including dividing based on race. Nowhere was that more obvious, nowhere, than in the aftermath of Charlottesville.

A majority of our own Hispanic citizens do not want the DACA “kids” to get amnesty. Left-wing media outlets Vox and ProPublica are defending MS-13 gangs as regular kids who are “working after-school jobs, living with their parents. They get around Long Island on bicycles because they can’t afford cars.” That’s a frightening pretense.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS.org) has reported on the Trump administration’s war on MS-13, the Salvadorian gang, reviewing more than 500 cases of MS-13 arrested nationwide, as a very serious threat to public safety. Their resurgence is directly connected to the illegal arrival and resettlement of more than 300,000 Central American youths and families that has continued unabated for six years, and to a de-prioritization of immigration enforcement in the interior of the country by the Obama administration. Do read the whole thing. There’s a map showing where Mara Salvatrucha operates. Over 207  MS-13 members have been charged with murder. Beyond that, 100 with conspiracy/racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual assaults, drug trafficking and extortion. Machetes are a favorite weapon, for chopping people up.

This is the Democrat program attacking Trump that they intend to run on.  Just watch, you will see Democrats repeating the prescribed talking points, “dog whistles” and all. Sick.



More Good News Is Coming Our Way! Maybe. by The Elephant's Child

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Fabulous news, maybe. The Daily Caller reports that “the Trump administration is preparing to repeal an Obama-era rule effectively outlawing a wide swath of popular lightbulbs, the Washington Post reported Wednesday”

The Department of Energy is ready to scrap a rule broadening the number of lightbulbs that must meet strict energy efficiency standards set to take effect in 2020, according to a document the agency published on its website. The document was later removed from the site, WaPo noted.

Former President Barack Obama’s DOE expanded the class of bulbs covered by a 2007 lightbulb ban to include bug lights, three-way bulbs, “rough service lamps,” and some decorative bulbs, such as globe-shaped bulbs. Obama’s decision came in January 2017 and roped in bulbs that had previously been exempt from the ban.

Obama officials argued the expansion was needed because consumers might use the unregulated bulbs to replace regulated ones. “DOE expects these sales will likely increase since these lamps could be used as replacements for other regulated lamp types,” the law notes. The Trump administration is clamming up about the change.

The administration is clamming up because they don’t discuss rule-making while they are in the middle of making rules, they’ve got enough arguments as it is, and they don’t need the public involved at this stage.

I don’t know about you, but I want my 100-watt incandescent lightbulbs back. The worst current shopping experience of all time is standing in front of the display of lightbulbs at Home Depot and trying to figure out what to buy that will not prove unsatisfactory. Everything seems to take a different kind of lightbulb because everyone is trying to save energy because? They had some nutty idea (actually the big lighting companies wanted to buy cheaper bulbs from China I think) about decreasing carbon emissions. The emissions are carbon dioxide (not carbon which is a solid) which is a benign gas that we exhale every time we breathe. Plants take in the CO² which they use as fertilizer, which is greening the world and releasing oxygen which we breathe. So they had force us to use twisty lightbulbs because global warming, although the science is quite clear.

During 2017, there were 150 graphs from 122 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals indicating modern temperatures are not unprecedented, unusual, or hockey-stick-shaped — nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability.  We are a little over halfway through 2018 and already  108 graphs from 89 scientific papers undermine claims that modern era warming is climatically unusual.

The belief in unprecedented global warming is important to Democrats, because it is their chosen weapon to destroy capitalism, which they don’t like, though it provides them with all the life enhancements they depend on. They refer to conservatives as “Deniers” meaning that we deny that the climate is changing, which is nonsense. The climate is always changing. Europe is currently sweltering under “unprecedented” hot weather, which we normally call “summer” and which will end sometime in late September or early October, which we call “fall.”

The Daily Caller added:”Advocates of the phase-out bans believe the regulations will increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and lead to greater technological innovation.” That summarizes the problem at the lighting aisle in Home Depot fairly well.



No More Useless Increases in CAFE Standards! Good Riddance. by The Elephant's Child

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Last Thursday, the EPA and the DOT announced a new proposed rule on automobile fuel efficiency standards. The Obama administration’s rule promulgated in 2012 was supposed to achieve a “corporate average” by the car companies for their new vehicles of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Instead it increased the cost of automobiles and the cost of gas.

The American people apparently are not capable of choosing how fuel-efficient they want their new cars to be. Fuel efficiency is not the number one issue in a car purchase. The most popular vehicles in recent years have been pickup trucks which are not particularly fuel efficient. The Ford F-150 is rated at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway — nowhere near 54.3 mpg. The new rule will end the ongoing increases in CAFE standards after 2020 applicable to new vehicles sold.

A report from the Environmental Protection Agency has found that including ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply is wreaking havoc on the atmosphere and on the soil.



It’s Not Climate Change that is Fueling Destructive Wildfires by The Elephant's Child

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People here in the Seattle area are complaining about the smoky air. There are some forest fires, mostly on the other side of the mountains around Omak, and in the Okanagan. In California, Governor Jerry Brown screeches that “since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.” At a state Office of Emergency Services press conference he said firefighters would have to adapt to increasingly severe wildfires because of climate change.

To quote from the Daily Caller “Years of mismanagement built up in California forests are feeding massive wildfires scorching the state, which is on track to experience its most destructive fire season ever. Nearly 3,000 acres of state and local lands in California have been burned this year, about triple the size of the five-year average for this time of year. The amount outpaces 2017’s historic fire season in the state by about 70,000 acres, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Little Hoover Commission (LHC), an independent California oversight agency, has been documenting forest mismanagement in the Golden State for decades. LHC described California’s Timber Harvest Plan in 1994 as an “inadequate tool” for balancing environmental and economic needs.

The environmental movement got all excited about preserving our forests and put enormous pressure on governmental agencies to stop cutting down trees, stop logging, and stop building logging roads into the beautiful forests. Logging provided lumber for building homes, and the price of lumber went way up, so nobody is building “starter homes” anymore. Ending logging meant that forests were not thinned as they were when logs were harvested, which means the trees are too close together, and there’s more deadwood and brush, which means more fire danger. There are always consequences for your actions. But aside from being wrong about the 10,000 years, Jerry Brown is wrong about climate change as well.

Wildfires have always been nature’s method of forest management.The U.S. Department of the Interior explains:

Fire has always been a natural process that is essential to healthy ecological systems. In the early 1900s, land management agencies sought to suppress all fires in an effort to preserve the timber supply. Over the decades, fire exclusion led to more living and dead vegetation on the landscape, increasing the fuel and as a result, the risk of large wildfires in our forests, rangelands, and near communities.

There are currently an estimated 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The land there can comfortably support between 20 and 100 trees per acre, There are currently around 266 trees per acre.

Granted, the Carr fire in Northern California has been devastating, burning much of Redding and Shasta, there have  been 6 deaths and many  homes have been destroyed, which is why Jerry Brown is looking for someone to blame other than mismanagement.  But then he is sure that the end is near from global warming.

A September 2017 report in the journal Science found that the global burned area has dropped by about 25 percent over the previous 18 years,  consistent with a May 2016 paper published by the Royal Society B:Biological Sciences.

During 2017, there were 150 graphs from 122 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals indicating that modern temperatures are Not unprecedented, unusual, nor hockey-stick-shaped —nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability. So far in 2018, there are 108 graphs from 89 scientific papers that undermine the claims that the modern era warming is climatically unusual, so it would seem that the attempt to blame global warming won’t work either.

It is often assumed that most forest fires are caused by lightning strikes, but it is reported that 90 percent of forest fires in this country are caused by human action. Like Smoky Bear said: “Only you can prevent forest fires”




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