American Elephants


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.

 



20,000 Regulations To Control You and Your HealthCare Provider by The Elephant's Child

Along with millions of others, I’m really frustrated with Congress. When the Democrats rammed through the Affordable Care Act, most Republicans recognized instantly that it was not going to work. Way too much bureaucratic control. It was clearly a step towards single-payer health care like Britain’s National Health Service. Of course there are probably not all that many Americans who read the British papers, but the failures of the system were apparent. Physicians have become government employees, hospitals so short of money that ambulances are parked in long lines on the street, waiting their turn to dislodge their desperately ill patients, and old people dying of neglect in the hospital, from dehydration, lack of food, dirty sheets. You have to pay attention to the symptoms of failure.

I know, most people just think that the medical care establishment is just way too expensive, they can’t afford it and want the government to pay for it. The thing everyone must remember is that government has no money of its own. Congress can raise taxes, especially on the rich, but you can’t take enough money away from the rich to take care of everybody who is not rich, and in the meantime, the rich stop becoming rich. High taxes mean less economic activity, fewer people getting rich, and everybody getting a little poorer.

What should have happened is that the moment ObamaCare passed, Republicans should have started planning how to reform health care in a way that was good for the most people and did the least harm. Instead, they did regular grandstanding votes of repealing ObamaCare when there was no chance of the vote succeeding in passing Congress nor being signed by the President. So, here we are seven months into a new administration, and the Republicans said they have been working on it for 8 months, but they can’t agree on a bill. They had eight years.

Part of it is that although Republicans boast of believing firmly in the free market, when push comes to shove, they are loath to lose control. We need to remember, first of all, that we are not talking about health care — we are talking about health insurance, and who is going to pay for what, who is going to receive what under what circumstances and what the insurance companies are going to offer at what price. What medicines and treatments you can have and how much that will cost.

Here’s an example of the actions of the free market: A long established pharmacy discovered a box in a back room that was full of bottles of old pharmaceuticals. Really old. Instead of just throwing them out, someone there decided to test them for efficacy. Was it possible that any of them could still work after so many years? Most of them were still effective. Yet when a new drug is approved, it gets assigned an expiration date because they have tested for 3 or 5 years, because the rules say they don’t have to test beyond that. Must they test for longer? Do the rules prevent more realistic expiration dates? It could obviously be cheaper if they didn’t expire so soon.

In 2016, it was pointed out that when the patents expire on a medicine it means that other manufacturers can produce the medicine at a lower cost. Yet last year a few companies that acquired the rights to lifesaving medicines  immediately jacked up prices, which helped make the situation far worse. Federal policies facilitate monopolies by erecting regulatory barriers to new entrants.

There are a few physicians in Congress who understand in part the flaws and failures of Government health care, but I don’t know that they understand the problems of insurance companies. And who understands the pharmaceutical industry and it’s problems? Bureaucrats want to make rules, they often believe the rules they make are sensible, protect the people, etc. but that isn’t often true.

Here’s an example of market-driven innovation—the free market at work —from 2012, about a group of doctors  who posted a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures online, founded the Surgery Center to escape from the bureaucracy of a major hospital center. A provision in ObamaCare effectively prohibits doctors from starting their own hospitals or expanding hospitals (which was widely interpreted as a give-away to the American Hospital Association.)  I assume it’s still going strong, I haven’t followed through.

And here’s a fascinating article from The Atlantic, this morning, that points to new scientific studies that may lead to new medicines, that are still in stage of basic new exciting discoveries —with unknown promise. Free people and free markets can come up with amazing solutions. That’s what created the dynamic American economy, and drives innovation. Surprise —it’s not more regulation and more control.

Democrats are congenitally programmed to demand control. They are afraid of the free market, hate capitalism, and make a mess of everything they attempt to govern by that philosophy.  You cannot effectively attempt to change human nature. Human nature is fixed and unchangeable. Most free market ideas we come up with will fail or never be tried, but some will succeed brilliantly and society will advance a little more.

 



Worldwide Publicity and Public Outcry + A Little Scientific Input by The Elephant's Child

Charlie-Gard

It appears that worldwide publicity and public outcry have had an effect on the sad case of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the baby Charlie Gard. Seven medical experts have suggested that unpublished data showed therapy could improve the 11-month-old’s brain condition. The High Court said previously that it was unlikely a U.S. doctor offering to treat Charlie would be able to cure him. The Great Ormond Street Hospital has said it would “explore” the data. The case will be heard on Monday by Mr. Justice Francis.

According to the previous High Court ruling GOSH is forbidden from allowing Charlie to be transferred for nucleoside therapy anywhere.

Charlie has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic condition which affects the cells responsible for energy production and respiration and has left him unable to move or breathe without a ventilator.

The parents have raised £1.3 million on a crowdfunding site to pay for the experimental therapy. Public attitudes may have been different if the cost was to be borne by taxpayers, but it has seemed to many that it’s not something for a court to decide if the parents can pay, even if it should prove to be futile. It’s the hospital and the High Court that have so enraged people around the world.



CNN’s Very Bad, Horrible, No Good Week by The Elephant's Child

CNN has had a very bad week. Tuesday, the network announced the resignation of three journalists — Eric Lichtblau, recently hired from the New York Times, Thomas Frank, and the head of the network’s new investigative unit, Les Harris. (We can probably assume fired). The cause —they had published a Russia/Trump story that had turned out to be completely false, so false that it had to be retracted by CNN. Retracted is really, really bad.

Apparently CNN’s CEO had told their reporters that the Paris climate thing was nice, but it was time to get back to Russia.

According to Power Line:

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has infiltrated CNN, and he has video of a CNN producer admitting that the network’s Russia fixation is “mostly bullshit,” but they do it because it brings in the money. Paul wrote about O’Keefe’s dynamite video this morning; if you missed it then you should watch it now. The CNN producer says things like “it’s mostly bulls**t right now.” And “I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me.”

This is, of course, a body blow to whatever is left of CNN’s credibility. But the bad news doesn’t end there. O’Keefe says today’s video is just Part 1. He has more on CNN, and he has put other corrupt news media on notice. So there could be more fireworks soon.

President Trump lost no time claiming vindication–rightly, according to the CNN producer.

I was looking through one of my bookshelves and noticed several books on  the Media. Damned Lies and Statistics by Joel Best, showing how statistics are manipulated by the media, and the difference between the world as it is, and the world portrayed by the media and the statistics they use to support their view. Published — 2001

Then there was Coloring the News by William McGowan, also published in 2001, exposing how crusading for diversity has corrupted American Journalism. Newspaper publishers and editors insist that promoting ‘diversity’ in the newsroom has produced better reporting and journalism. The assumption was undoubtedly that being of a different race or ethnicity would naturally produce a different viewpoint. McGowan carefully proved that they were wrong.

Bernard Goldberg’s Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News came out in 2002.Emmy Award-winner  Goldberg said the media too often ignored their primary mission—objective disinterested reporting.

Mobocracy: How the Media’s Obsession with Polling Twists the News, Alters Elections, and Undermines Democracy. Also published in 2002, by Matthew Robinson. Mark Levin’s blurb said Robinson had meticulously documented how the once-benign concept of gauging public opinion has been perverted into a weapon wielded by journalists with a political agenda.

Apparently I have been concerned about the American Press even longer than I remembered.  I can remember a day when we did trust the news and the reporters who brought it to our attention. I also recognize how hard it must be to put your politics aside and do objective disinterested reporting, but the current crop seem to wallow in their political agendas and are unfamiliar with the task of keeping politicians in line with honest reporting assigned to the profession by the Founders.



Deregulating the Administrative State by The Elephant's Child

We have Trumpkins and Trumpsters, Never Trumpers, and on the other side foul language, Russian conspiracy freaks, Maxine Waters and CNN, among others. The Left goes on about Authoritarianism, and is apparently extremely worried about a new burst of  Fascism, Administrative control and loss of Freedom while President Trump works hard at lessening the regulatory burden that the Obama administration inflicted on business, the economy in general and our individual lives. There’s a bit of a disconnect here.

Look, we the people are the board of directors, and every four years we endeavor to hire someone to run the place for four years. Big job, and an important job. Keep the economy running, try to keep the peace, get along with other nations, keep the federal bureaucracy in check, world’s policeman—not a job we or the world wants, but somebody has to pay attention. Just keeping the country running properly is a huge job. Lots of agencies and offices and administrations and services, transportation and intelligence, military and the courts. It’s very very complicated and most things happen very slowly and it’s little wonder that they refer to it as a swamp.

A lot of the agencies and services don’t work very well, and President Trump is already endeavoring to straighten some of them up. The Veterans Administration can now fire people who are not meeting the needs of the vets they are assigned to serve. Maybe we won’t have our veterans dying while they are waiting for an appointment. Most people will not appreciate the fact that Trump has ended the task of a government agency to keep reporting on the progress of their efforts to deal with Y2K — the change of the calendar from 1999 to 2000 that was expected to be a major problem for America’s computers. 17 years have passed and only now can they stop working on formal reports, due every year. The roots and tangles that gum up the swamp are rules,  regulations and requirements that go on eternally unless they receive an official order to stop. That—is how you drain a swamp. The president is very pleased with ending unnecessary regulation, and welcomes suggestions for more bad regulations to remove.

The Left is incensed that the Supreme Court has allowed President Trump’s temporary travel ban to proceed. If they were even slightly aware, they would recognize the depth of the problems Europe faces because of the flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Europe, long slumbering under waves of unwanted immigration, is beginning to awaken and notice the constant terror attacks, the sexual attacks, no-go areas, the new attacks with trucks and cars and knives rather than explosives. Banning travel temporarily from seven nations designated as sources of terror by the Obama Administration — until they can figure out a way to vet them, is not cruelty but common sense.

The Left needs to take a deep breath, and stop making fools of themselves. But that’s undoubtedly asking too much.




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