American Elephants


It’s a Big Job, How Do You Start? by The Elephant's Child

Over at National Review, David French explains what a monumental job reducing the reach of the regulatory state is.

At present, the vast and bloated executive branch — existing through its alphabet soup of agencies such as the EPA, IRS, DOE, ATF, and the like — intrudes into virtually every aspect of American life. It regulates your workplace, your home, your car, and your kids’ school. It’s staffed by legions of bureaucrats who enjoy job security that private-sector employees can only dream of, and it’s granted legal authority by the Supreme Court to interpret its own governing statutes and expand the scope of its own authority. In its own spheres of influence, it often acts as legislator, prosecutor, and judge. …

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

Do read the whole thing:



The Tyranny of the Administrative State by The Elephant's Child

wy-pond-550x309You will be hearing a lot more about “the administrative state” in the coming days and weeks. The name sounds way too bureaucratty to be of interest, but phrased a little differently, more like—the Progressives are a bunch of control freaks and want to ruin your life and your freedom with a constant flow of regulation to satisfy their own egos.   That’s much clearer, and unfortunately true.

This seems especially clear because I’m just back from a trip to Home Depot for lightbulbs. If you have recently faced the lightbulb display at Home Depot or any similar store, you know what I mean. The federal government decided that the fear of global warming justified banning our dependable, cheap, incandescent bulbs and thrusting upon us all sorts of unsatisfactory junk from China—twisty bulbs, 40 watt bulbs that are now supposed to light as well as 75 watt but don’t use up so much energy and so on. What was once a simple shopping trip has turned into a confusing nightmare. Besides, I personally believe that this has nothing to do with “saving energy” and everything to do with the fact that the lighting companies would make a lot more money if they could force us to use the noxious new bulbs made in China, that being why they have all those lobbyists in D.C. (crony capitalism).

Conservatives talk a lot about Liberty and the Constitution, but I’m afraid that that just passes millennials by. Our founding fathers were only recently subjects of England, and they had revolted and fought  a war to escape what they considered tyranny and a far too administrative state. When they were writing a new constitution for the country, Liberty was paramount in their minds. How could they insure that generations hence would not lightly lose all that they had fought for? They were deeply familiar with ambition and greed, power-seeking, and all the other flaws of humanity. So they devised a system of three equal branches, so that no one branch could exert control over the others—and in general, it has worked pretty well.

When the European Union was being devised to prevent the continual wars that had plagued the continent, Valery Giscard d’ Estang, a former French President, was elected to the commission to devise a constitution for the EU. The commission looked at the U.S. Constitution, but could not imagine devolving so much power to the people. So the EU became the unaccountable body to which much of Europe is revolting and considering leaving, as Britain is now doing.

Here’s an example of how the modern administrative state tramples all over the separation of powers from Steven Hayward’s new book: Patriotism Is Not Enough. A classic paragraph from Boston University law professor Gary Lawson, in his 1994 Harvard Law Review article “The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State.”

The [Federal Trade] Commission promulgates substantive rules of conduct. The Commission then considers whether to authorize investigations into whether the Commission’s rules have been violated. If the Commission authorizes an investigation, the investigation is conducted by the Commission, which reports its findings to the Commission. If the Commission thinks that the Commission’s findings warrant an enforcement action, the Commission issues a complaint. The Commission’s complaint that a Commission rule has been violated is then prosecuted by the Commission and adjudicated by the Commission. This Commission adjudication can either take place before the full Commission or before a semi-autonomous Commission administrative law judge. If the Commission chooses to adjudicate before an administrative law judge rather than before the Commission and the decision is adverse to the Commission, the Commission can appeal to the Commission. If the Commission ultimately finds a violation, then, and only then, the affected private party can appeal to an Article III court. But the agency decision, even before the bona fide Article III tribunal, possesses a very strong presumption of correctness on matters both of fact and of law.

It’s only funny until they start coming after you. We’ve reported on Gibson Guitars, and the Sacketts case in Northern Idaho, and rancher Andy Johnson building a stock pond  (above) on his property, but those are only a few of the big ones. Notable because they were so outrageous and so stupid. But excellent examples of the administrative state at work. How do you fight fines of $35,000 a day? How about telling all the school kids in the country what they have to eat for lunch? Or how about ordering all the bathrooms and locker rooms to be open to anyone who wants to come in?



Beware of the Progressives’ Language Games. by The Elephant's Child

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One of the things that is hardest to understand today are the language games being played. We’ve all become familiar with the previous administration’s not just reluctance, but refusal, to utter the words Radical Islamic Terrorism, or any similar reference. With major attacks in Paris and Germany the terrorism part is hard to escape, but the problem is any insinuation that terror is connected to religion, in spite of the fact that the Koran makes it fairly clear. Refusing to name things accurately is a political tactic.

We are now in a middle phase of the immigration game. Yesterday was supposed to be “A Day Without Immigrants” proving that we just can’t get along without all the things an immigrant does for us. It was pretty much a flop because nobody paid attention, but the attempt is just one small item in a much larger program.

In all the ranting and ravings, nobody seems to clarify the difference which is huge, immense and important between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. The Left’s attempt to suggest that anyone who opposes illegal immigration hates immigrants is ridiculous, but that’s what they are doing. Obama has effectively left the border wide open. Executive orders offered amnesty to immigrants. Refugees were placed in districts where a distinct change in population numbers would be advantageous to Democrats at the polls. Since new citizens, or those who vote illegally usually vote Democratic, they were put in those states and counties where it would affect the vote most. Except, of course in the case of Cuban refugees who could be counted on to vote Republican, and they were returned to Cuba for reeducation.

You have surely heard the phrase “We are a nation of immigrants” repeated endlessly. Well, sure, in one sense even the Native Americans are immigrants from Siberia, but in actuality, we are a nation of citizens. Immigrants are here either legally or illegally, and legal immigrants can eventually become citizens with full constitutional rights when they have passed the citizenship test and gone through the naturalization ceremony where they forswear their allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty was before a citizen.

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

The important thing to notice is the attempt to conflate legal immigration and illegal immigration by suggesting that all immigration is good and illegals are entitled to the same benefits, same regulations and same rewards. Those who have crossed the border illegally, or who have overstayed their visas or student visas are taking unfair advantage of those who have applied legally and are waiting patiently for their turn— around 4.4 million people.

The idea seems to be to make everyone believe that America is the great benefactor of all mankind with open borders and welcome for all those who are unhappy with their present circumstances. It has reached the point where anyone who utters the words “illegal immigrants” is likely to wonder if that makes them a bad person. That is the purpose of these word games.

The refusal to utter the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” is part of the effort to install “Islamophobia” high on the list of personal sins, and to make Obama’s disastrous Iran Deal somehow palatable, which it is not. You can ask yourself why Iran is working so hard to develop nuclear weapons, and intercontinental ballistic missiles? A look at a map of the Middle East makes that fairly clear. They mean those shouts of “Death to America”. Obama believed that the intransigence in the Middle East was entirely  because of our interference in the region (Bush’ s fault) and if he just made nice and turned the Middle East over to Iran to manage, all would be well, which is ludicrous. If you are cowed by societal disapproval, afraid to be labeled Islamophobic, they have accomplished their purpose.

There is a reason why protesters and their signs scream ‘Fascist’, ‘Nazi’,’Racist’,’Islamophobe, Homophobe, ‘Deplorables’, ‘Obstructionists’,”Tea Baggers’,’Deniers’ and other similar epithets. The Conservative response is often  tax cuts or some other economic fact, often long and confusing.  Republicans or Conservatives are not so much interested in calling names, but in principles. They are usually talking about free markets or free people, Liberty — the Constitution, that sort of thing. Democrats do not talk about principles because they just don’t think that way, and they don’t have any.

Obama will return to Washington D.C. to oversee the operations of OFA, (Organizing for Action, formerly Obama for America) his 30,000 strong army of young community organizers in training. Paul Sperry has been writing at the New York Post about Obama’s plans for sabotaging the Trump presidency. So far they have been ordered out to disrupt every Republican office holder’s Town Halls as “enraged constituents” terrified that the Republicans are going to take away their ObamaCare. The press obligingly covers it as enraged constituents without any idea that they are being had. It’s easy, sabotaging the Trump presidency.

Just don’t assume that any of this hooplah is spontaneous righteous indignation. All is carefully planned, and most is well subsidized. I only recently realized the reason why all these leftist groups have significant names, and organization. You can’t write a check to an unnamed or spontaneous group.  And they do have sponsors who write significant checks.

 



Apologies to Visitors by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. I’ve been down with headaches. Apparently some mixture of new glasses and the computer screen, that’s not working.  I’ll try to catch up, there’s so much to write about, and so much going on that is hard to understand.



Tax Time is Approaching: Why Are Your Payroll Taxes So High? by The Elephant's Child

Congress will soon be embarking on changing the tax code. They want to reduce taxes. If taxes are cut in such a way that they act to make doing business easier for businesses in the economy, the government will take in more money, rather than less. That seems highly improbable to the left who always want to tax the rich and big business much more, but when businesses are free to stop sending all their money to the government, they can do more business, expand and create, and they make more money than they would have under heavy regulation and restrictions on what they can do. The free market and free people produce prosperity.

 



Why is America So Rich? by The Elephant's Child



What is The Matter With the Left? Have They Simply Gone Nuts? by The Elephant's Child
February 15, 2017, 6:23 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy

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In his book Never Enough, William Voegeli wrote:

The liberal project makes no sense. Liberals cannot articulate basic principles such as conservatives do. Conservatives talk about the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and argue about freedom and liberty. Liberals, even when requested to come up with principles—cannot. The lesson is simple—their principles are all negatives—things that are not fair—slavery, race, women as chattel—could not vote.

This strikes me as spot on. I’m not at all sure that Leftists even understand freedom or liberty. Much of the Left’s current program concerns outrage at those who exercise their right to freedom of speech, the simple ability to speak freely. In our country, one of our most precious rights. You have no right to disagree with them.

The riots in Berkeley were over a planned speech by Milo Yiannopoulis who was invited to speak by a Conservative student group. Not protests over what he said in his speech, but riots and destruction of property because of Leftist views of what he might say.

A leader of the riot, a middle school teacher and leader of an “By Any Means Necessary” group claimed that gay immigrant Milo was “homophobic, fascist, misogynist, advocating violence against women, whipping up a lynch-mob mentality, funded by Breitbart and Steve Bannon, anti-immigrant, espousing genocide, calling for mass murder, rape, alt-right, lessons we draw from the holocaust, and he should not be allowed to speak in public to tell his lies about racism, whip up people to lynch people”—I think I got all of the rather amazing accusations from this middle school teacher, about a speech that he had not yet given.  The riot involved destroying property, $100,000 damages on campus and twice that in the town of Berkeley.

Remember the “Occupy Wall Street” camp-outs in 2011? That outrage was not caused by anything like the shooting in San Francisco of a young woman walking on a wharf with her father by a previously deported illegal alien who was protected by San Francisco’s sanctuary city designation.  No protest. That, apparently, was not an outrage at all. Nor was the planned shooting of 14 people and wounding of 22 others in San Bernardino in 2015 an outrage. No demonstrations demanding better vetting of immigrants who turned out to be terrorists. What caused outrage and had  young people with top of the line tents and sleeping bags, laptops and cell phones occupying city parks across the country to protest “social inequality” and the need for “redistribution of wealth.” Those protests caused $12 million in property damage, 500 thefts, more than a dozen rapes, 3 murders and a dozen deaths.

David Horowitz wrote:

Far from instilling humility in progressives…the collapse of socialism has revived their self-righteousness and re-energized their assault on the democratic West. The disappearance of the Soviet bloc has only one consequence of note. It has lifted the burden of having to defend an indefensible regime. Because the utopian vision is no longer anchored in the reality of an actually existing socialist state, the left can now indulge its nihilistic agenda without restraint.

And Andrew McCarthy, in The Grand Jihad:

Nihilism is the key. Today’s hard left is defined by what it is against: the United States, free market capitalism, and any foreign policy premised on defending American interests or promoting individual liberty. Only that part of the agenda is concrete, leaving neocommunism elastic enough to strike alliances with any movement that shares it. What neocommunists are for, by contrast, is a set of  abstractions—”social justice,” “equality,”redistributive rights,” “the rule of law,”and, of course, “our values.” The details of those can be worked out later, once the more pressing imperative of undoing the existing order has been realized.

The Left’s current outrage is purportedly about the recent election of Donald Trump, his inauguration, and three weeks of settling in at the White House. As soon as he finishes his vacation, former president Barack Obama, reportedly plans to return to Washington D.C. to his rented mansion with its newly installed wall to direct his troops, numbering more than 30,000 who will set up a shadow government to protect his “legacy”and to fight his Republican successor at every turn. Democrats are quite sure that Trump cannot be a legal president, and must be guilty of every horror expressed by the middle school teacher who led the Berkeley riots. How come every group that protests has an official name? Oh. You can’t write a check to a group if it doesn’t have a name. If it has seemed to Republicans that the Left has gone certifiably nuts, they may not be all that far off.

The Left’s real outrage is clearly about being removed from power—power to which they believe they are entitled. It’s because they are smarter, you see. They don’t protest real things—they don’t talk about principle, they don’t even care about principle. It’s what they think is not fair. And we’re supposed to trust them to fix things that are not fair? Not likely.




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