American Elephants


Why Are We In These Strange Times? by The Elephant's Child

This is a fairly long video, but very worth your while. Dr. Hansen explains the Obama Administration, the election, and why we seem to have entered such a surreal period.

Democrats have lost elections before, but never so completely or thoroughly. They have never before reacted so badly, nor hated so viciously, nor demonstrated their hatred so tastelessly.

Who could ever have dreamed of a Kathy Griffin and her pretend ISIS decapitation, and now she’s back, apologizing for her apology. Undoubtedly her audience would not accept her regret and she is emboldened. Pity. One assumed she could not get more disgusting.

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Secretary Price Has Resigned From Health and Human Services by The Elephant's Child

Secretary Tom Price has resigned from Health and Human Services, and his resignation has been accepted by President Trump.

One of the most important notions of the Trump campaign was that of ‘draining the swamp.’ The nation’s capitol has become too expensive, too self-important, too unresponsive to the people. The Democrats in general, and the media in particular, have become consumed with hatred for the man who, in winning the election, has taken away their control in numbers, ideas, and power across the nation.

The Democrats not only confidently expected Hillary to win and continue their power in government, and to have their own way, but they were astonished to see the Trump victory echoing through the states down to the local level. They lost 13 seats in the Senate, 69 House seats, 910 State Legislative seats and 30 Legislatures. The Media no longer had powerful people in government eager for their attention.  From remarks from the media, it seems that the Obama administration was in constant contact trying (mostly successfully) to manage the news.

So you have probably not noticed that President Trump’s goal of making America great again involves cutting the cost of government. Cabinet officers and Congressmen who direct the work of the government have been excused for far too long for their carelessness with the taxpayers’ money. Secretary Price, who is also a wealthy man, may have thought nothing of chartering private jets for his travel, and billing it to the government, but the department’s inspector general did. It is unfortunate because Dr. Price is a good man, and was a good appointment as a physician,with long Congressional experience to Health and Human Services.

The media recently attacked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who was flying on a private jet to her meetings all over the country, only to be terminally embarrassed to find that it was her own plane, and she was paying for it. So much will be made of the Price scandal. Other Cabinet members are looking closely at their own travel.

You will find that most of President Trump’s actions are based on ordinary common sense. Which is why he won the votes of a great many Americans who were fed up with “the swamp.” You will hear plenty about this ‘scandal’ and its reverberations.



“Homeless Camps Are Infectious Disease Time Bombs” * by The Elephant's Child

(*Headline shamelessly borrowed from Alex Berezow.)
According to HUD statistics, the homelessness problem is greatest in New York City, NY, 75,323, Los Angeles City & County 75,323 and Seattle/King County 10,122. These statistics, the most recent are from 2015. (It apparently takes that long for government computers to massage that much information.) My Seattle suburb is currently beginning to try to deal with our homeless problem with contentious arguments over housing location.

“Homelessness” is a contemporary problem that encompasses the out-of-work people who literally have no home and cannot afford one, those whose problems are alcoholism, drugs, mental health, or just a subcategory of those who enjoy the independence of living on the street. It has been suggested that the problem arose when the do-gooders tackled the idea of people being involuntarily committed to mental hospitals, with the idea that people were committing relatives for reasons unrelated to mental health. So it is much harder to get anyone committed, and many mental hospitals have closed. “Homeless” is another Leftist do-gooder name for much bigger problems.

At the same time addicts have to decide that they need help to overcome their addiction and be able to pay for it. We do not have drug courts that force addicts to accept treatment, and I don’t know if there is any help for those who don’t particularly want to overcome their addiction.  Addicts who have reached the homeless state pose enormous costs on society. Seattle, I believe, has an apartment building for hopeless alcoholics who are constantly picked up by police. It ‘s justified as a place where they can drink themselves to death, but it gets them off the street.

Alex Berezow’s article suggests that a methodology that measures the homeless per 100,000 population is more accurate, and he includes a graph, again for 2015 statistics. Seattle drops down a bit on the list, but is still in the disgusting range.

Funny! As I write this, there is a commercial on the radio for “Hotel California by the Sea” in Bellevue, a luxury hotel for those dealing with addiction problems. Since they go on a bit about their luxury, I assume it is also costly.

Here’s the graph for the first statistics. Clearly, neither is truly accurate, with 2015 numbers, and the problem of city/county/metropolitan area as guideposts to what’s happening. I would be surprised if with current technology, it would not be possible to have more current statistics, but government computers aren’t up to the task.

But what do you do? Seattle has many homeless camps, under the freeways, intruding on public parks. Area churches host homeless camps on a sort of rotating basis, because they are churches and supposed to be “nice.” The camps include drug dealers, prostitution rings, and increasingly, as Berezow reports, homeless camps are infectious disease time bombs. That the rest of  us don’t have to worry too much about infectious disease is due to the strong defense provided by the “pillars” of our public health system. The pillars include chlorination of the water supply, vaccination, and pasteurization of  dairy and other products—add medication. San Diego has had an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis that has hospitalized nearly 300 and killed 16. Streptococcus in Anchorage, Shigella in Portland and Tuberculosis everywhere. The squalor is a threat to society as a whole. The opioid crisis is hitting rural parts of the country as well.

What do we do? We have tried doing nothing, and that isn’t acceptable either. “It is dangerous, costly and inhumane.”



Language, Talking Points, and the Vanishing Profession of Journalism by The Elephant's Child

Selected language and preferred narratives seem to be going off into all directions. Some of it is quite deliberate, as Democrats in mass speak in focus-tested talking points. This is proven by the vast numbers of Democrats who emerge on a given day—all saying the exact same thing in the exact same words. The goal seems to be controlling the narrative of the day, and thus commanding the news cycle and, hopefully, the thoughts in the heads of Americans. Orwell would understand.

The ordinary news cycle seems to be all fouled-up as well. Hurricane Irma is the strongest hurricane ever in the history of the west, no, there have been regularly very damaging hurricanes and many of them. Irma has been downgraded to a Category 4.  José has been upgraded to a Category 4. The plots they are expected to follow change regularly. There are official websites with official numbers, but everybody seems to be using some alternates.

I may exaggerate a little, but it suffices as a description of the ordinary news. There’s Republican news and Democrat news with variances,and nuances, lots of nuances.  Many people have remarked that they don’t believe any major news sources and simply depend on a few individuals they trust. This is a remarkable situation, and I cannot remember any time when the media was so mistrusted, and held in so much contempt. It’s a very uncomfortable circumstance. Traditionally, the media was supposed to be the watchdog of the three branches of government, so that when the politics became too apparent, the truth would prevail. “Draining the swamp” as it were.

The visual media has made reporting a glamorous profession, and the pretty or handsome ones  become celebrities of a sort, like movie people — their names and faces are known. I’m not sure of the diagnosis — are there too many reporters chasing the same stories, is this a failure of the journalism schools, poorly educated reporters, or has everyone just become far too political? Journalism has always been political going back as far as  “Remember the Maine” and the Spanish American War, but the present case seems different.

Time will tell, and there are a great many curious cases to be fully explained. I did read that CNN has finally given up on the Russia connection.



Best Essay of the Day by The Elephant's Child

Donald J Trump is president. Really. He won it fair and square, he was inaugurated seven — almost eight — months ago, and he very probably is going to be president for another three and a half years.

Minimum.

So, now, children, let’s calm down. All of you people over there saying Trump is unqualified and should be removed? Give it up. He’s qualified by the only qualification that matters: he is over 35, he is a native U.S. citizen, and he won the damned election. The Constitution doesn’t have a clause in it for removal by vote of the media, or because his political opponents don’t like him. The only reason he can be removed constitutionally is if someone finds high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I know that some people are fantasizing about the Democrats taking the House, and passing a bill of impeachment, and somehow getting the Senate to convict.

To which I say, “be careful, you’ll get chafed.”



“The Resistance” versus The Constitution by The Elephant's Child

The United States Constitution is quite clear. Article II, Section1.  The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States. That’s it. A very clear and simple statement about the executive power of the United States. Every single person in the executive departments of the federal government answers to the President.

Back in February, Acting attorney General Sally Yates instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. (There are 49 majority Muslim countries. The 7 temporarily banned make up a relatively large portion of refugees entering the country, but only a small share are visa holders.) Yates sent an email to the lawyers in Justice’s Civil Division instructing them not to defend President Trump’s executive order in court. She acknowledged, in the email that the executive order had been reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel, which had determined it was lawful on its face. She asserted the federal bureaucrats “I don’t care what you say and I’ll do what I please.” Trump promptly fired Yates. As a federal bureaucrat, she has the right to disagree, but she has no authority to order the Justice Department to refuse to enforce it.

It’s not talked about much, but these things are “catching”. On college campuses, there are a few bad actors, or members of Black Lives Matter, or others sent by ‘community organizers’. But if somebody is protesting and screaming and carrying torches or signs, it’s easy enough to join the crowd.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, pointed to news reports about upset employees, social media campaigns and “civil disobedience” training for staffers looking to push back against the White House.

GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, a contributor to The Hill, attributed the blowback to a host of factors, from the political make-up of civil servants to the use of holdover officials in government offices that are still waiting for the Senate to confirm Trump political appointees.

He said there is also a “real industry now behind recruiting whistleblowers inside the resistance movement,” and creating public outcry about the administration.

“It’s not enough just to be a government employee and resign because of the direction your agency is going,” he said, noting that officials’ concerns are often sincere. “Now you have to do it in a highly public way, out of social pressure and personal motivation.”

These are arrogant bureaucrats, refusing to do the job they were hired to do. They serve at the pleasure of the president. He should make that known by firing the lot.

The Democrats are in deep difficulty and they know it. They’ve been hauling out one potential candidate after another to see what the reaction is. Not good. They have no bench. They have no ideas. They have been trying to stall every nomination of the president to impede his policies. They imagine themselves romantically standing on the barricades bravely as “The Resistance” in some illusionary French Revolution. Well, it won’t fly.

 

 



A $300,000 Climate Change Museum? by The Elephant's Child

In the final days of his administration, the former president oversaw the creation of a $300,000 “climate museum” in a government building in Washington D.C. (Paid for with taxpayer dollars), dedicated to the proposition that man-made climate change is a dire threat, and the wonderful work done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its voluminous files of regulation are absolutely necessary to keep us safe from disaster, or the Statue of Liberty sinking beneath the waves again.

The $300,000 price tag represented $211,111 for the Smithsonian Institution to create the materials shown in the museum and $134,000 to renovate the space. The content was created by the EPA Alumni Association, which compiled it and presented a timeline detailing the milestones of the regulatory agency since it was founded in 1970. Gosh. Do all federal agencies get a museum to extol their legacy? Seems a bit pricey for self-glorification.

According to the Washington Post, I find that it was a “pet project” of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, and is “tucked into” the lobby of the EPA Credit Union in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. It not only documents all the countless regulations that affect our daily lives, like the ethanol-enhanced gas we put in our cars, our useless new twisty light bulbs, to how we heat and cool our homes. And affects as well the design of our cars and their price, as well as the design and cost of our household appliances. They have not yet succeeded in getting centralized control of our  household energy. but they are working on it. The “museum” embodies the ideology of Obama and his EPA.  President Trump is using executive orders to undo many of the most toxic regulations, with more to come.

I would be surprised if the “museum” contains information on many of the regulations that the courts threw out, or for example, the massive yellow toxic spill of mine waste from the Gold King mine into the Animas River in Colorado which flowed into the San Juan River in New Mexico, and then the Colorado River in Utah, the Grand Canyon and became the water supply for drought-stricken California. The Navajo Nation sued the EPA, but the last I read indicated that the EPA had not paid up. I’d bet this picture is not included in the exhibit either.

Here’s an excellent example of the EPA and how they worked under administrator Gina McCarthy. The Sacketts case went to the Supreme Court, where it was overturned unanimously by the court. Andy Johnson, a welder in Wyoming built a small livestock pond on his property that was approved by the state authorities. That one was an EPA attempt to claim jurisdiction over all the “navigable waters” of the United States—or anything that eventually flows into the ocean that originally comes from a drip from your downspouts.

But I’ll bet there’s lots about how the EPA protected America’s children from the ravages of asthma. Asthma was a favorite cause of Ms. McCarthy, because doctors don’t know what causes asthma which makes it a convenient cause. The goal of the Left is not saving the environment, but control, and the  EPA was just one more tool in their crusade.  Just as the Left’s crusade for Sanctuary Cities, and open borders is another reach for control by increasing the numbers of people in the states that Democrats control or are close to controlling. Illegals are counted in the census, and thus affect the numbers of representatives in Congress that the state gets. The Left may not be well-informed about history or the inestimable worth of our Constitution (which they would love to amend significantly) but they are fully aware of all opportunities for advancing their statist cause.

Administrator Scott Pruitt is on the case, and working steadily to limit the EPA to its basic task of clean air and clean water, and he has the full approval of President Trump, who by executive order is undoing the things that Pruitt can’t do himself.

 




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