American Elephants


The Character of The President Is Being Exposed For All To See by The Elephant's Child

Goodness, we must have really irritated President Obama with that recent wave election. One might have hoped that it would lead to more cooperation, but he has proved that he has no ability, nor inclination,  to negotiate. It’s plainly his way or the highway. He ‘s gone full tyrant.

We have never before had a president who says essentially— the hell with the Constitution, I’m going to do exactly what I want. We’ve had advice handed down from our first president, and many subsequent presidents, but never one before that behaved like a petulant spoiled child.

What we need to understand is that for the present crop of progressives, the issue is never the issue. Our immigration system is not broken. It is not enforced. Obama wants poor, poorly educated peasants from Mexico and Central America because by giving them work permits and welfare benefits, food stamps, driver’s licenses and other goodies, they will be Democrat Party voters, and make America permanently Progressive and permanently socialist.

Regulating the internet as a public utility to protect users establishes government control over the web, who uses it, and what kind of speech will be allowed.

Threatening public officials if they don’t obey Obama’s illegal executive orders while they are questioned by Congress and the courts is reprehensible.

John Hinderaker, one of the attorneys at Powerline offers “A Modest Proposal For Amendments to the Constitution.” “Barack Obama’s scofflaw administration has revealed some ambiguities or omissions in our Constitution–loopholes, if you will–that should be closed via constitutional amendment, to eliminate the possibility that future administrations may also act lawlessly. I have in mind three amendments that should accomplish that purpose.”

Do read the whole thing, which explains the very brief amendments, and why we need each one. Just a matter of clarifying the wording so even ideologues can understand.



A Reminder, In Your Words Mr. President: “That’s Not How Democracy Works” by The Elephant's Child

childhood-immigration-flood-620x396

The year is 2011, and election coming up, the president is making lots of speeches and fundraising. On May 10, President Obama spoke at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso Texas. He vowed to “keep up the fight” to pass comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, because the immigration system was broken. (Not broken. The immigration laws simply are not enforced).

He assured the audience that the border fence was essentially complete, (if  “essentially complete” means that 84 miles of the mandated double fencing have been built of the 1,933 miles of our border with Mexico). That pertains to compliance with the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

Then he added:

“Sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself, but that’s not how a democracy works,” Obama said. “What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform. That is the ultimate solution to this problem. That’s what I’m committed to doing.”

Back in the halls of Congress, it is Jeff Sessions who once again spoke of constitutional government in defense of American workers in a clarifying speech yesterday on the Senate floor:

A number of things have been happening today with regard to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. There’s been a lot of spin about that and that somehow the Republicans are blocking the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. This gives new meaning to the word “obfuscation,” I suppose, or “disingenuousness.” The truth is, the House of Representatives has fully funded the Department of Homeland Security. It’s provided the level of funding the President asked for. It’s kept all the accounts at Homeland Security as approved through the congressional process. It simply says, but, Mr. President, we considered your bill, this amnesty bill that will provide work permits, photo IDs, Social Security numbers, Medicare benefits. You can’t do that. We considered that and rejected it. So we’re not going to fund that.

Now, the President has told us and his staff that they have across the river in Crystal City, they’re leasing a new building and this building is going to hire a thousand workers, paid for by the taxpayers of the United States, part of Homeland Security. Are those thousand workers going to be utilized to enforce the laws of the United States? Are they going to process applications for citizenship or visas? No. Those 1,000 people, costing several hundred million dollars, in truth, those people are going to be processing and providing these benefits to people unlawfully in America… (Read on below)

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What Did Obama Mean By “Fundamentally Transform”? by The Elephant's Child

Obama lecturing

Most of us are apt to divide the world up into the good guys and the bad guys. Opposites.  Simplistic thinking, of course. No nuance. (when did that word slip into the daily vocabulary?) Winners and losers. Short and tall, rich and poor, hard-working and lazy, handsome and ugly, cruel and kind, smart and stupid. It helps us to understand those things we encounter in the world, we can modify our judgment later.

World War II was clear — Allies and Axis, and the Cold War — Communists and the Free World. Things began to get confused with the War in Vietnam. Protesters couldn’t decide who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Jane Fonda has never been forgiven for her stupidity, but she was not alone among the far left. It was a confusing time, and when the Draft was ended, surprisingly so were the protests.

Questions today on the internet ask “Is Obama a Christian?” and “Is Obama a Muslim?” But those are the wrong questions. Obama has given every indication of signing up with the bad guys, the Axis, the Communists, and those who oppose our country. His dislike for the Israeli prime minister is obvious; his distaste for the United Kingdom is clear; his support for a deal with Iran; his support for the Muslim Brotherhood; for the deposed president of Egypt; inability to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq; Benghazi; refusal to help the dissidents in Iran, and in Syria; and the silly outreach to Cuba; and the support for most anti-American governments in South America.

There is a pattern.  A pattern which is behind Rudy Giuliani’s asking if the president loves America. One would think that the media would be somewhat aware of the direction of the entire Obama administration, instead of dissolving in wrath when someone actually notices. (Or is that why the media boiled over —they’re beginning to notice?)

I think he is just doing exactly what he said he would do: attempt to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Everybody was so excited with the idea of the first black president, the mellow baritone voice, the moving phraseology “Yes We Can!,” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!,” that they didn’t really pay any attention to what he actually said that he wanted to do. I don’t think he is trying to destroy the country, he just wants to “fix” it.

We are paying the price for our inattention. And it’s up to us to find out exactly what he meant by “fundamentally transform.” It matters. It matters a lot.



It’s The Little Things That Finally Get To You! by The Elephant's Child

Conservatives frequently complain about Big Government, and the excesses of Big Government that badly need to be whittled back.

There has been some celebration of the end of another extension to unemployment insurance which meant that some of the long-term unemployed suddenly went out and got a job. With a gentle kick in the pants, some who had been unable to find the job to equal their last position, decided they’d be better off with a job, even if it didn’t measure up to their hopes. (I defer to David Horowitz:)

Democrat campaign themes are monotonously the same. They scare voters by accusing Republicans of imaginary crimes. And always the same crimes: Republicans wage wars on women, on minorities, and on the vulnerable. They defend the rich and don’t care about the poor. Their policies inflict pain on working families to benefit the wealthy few.

Big Government is the goal of the Left. They envision a government that supports most everybody, because they like to develop policies that do nice things for the people. It makes them feel good to be Lady Bountiful. Nancy Pelosi explained recently when she spoke to an audience of musicians and artists in San Francisco. “they needn’t bother working, because the taxpayers of the United States would cover their health care. Without a job they would be free to focus on their talents, passions and aspirations because they wouldn’t be “job locked.

The “better world” to which the Left aspires is a bountiful government that takes care of everyone’s needs. If the program or policy is well-meant, then it is successful. ObamaCare, for example, includes people who could not afford insurance, and gives them Medicaid.  What a wonderful thing! It costs too much, so they just pay the doctors less, which results in few doctors who are willing to see Medicaid patients. So there you are—the ideal Leftist policy.

It’s that  “better world” dream that impels them. They’ll just raise taxes on the rich, and the corporations. It doesn’t really affect them, because they are the ones in charge. And the people will be so dependent that they will never turn to those mean Republicans who care about abstractions like independence and individual liberty.

That was the dream in Cuba, and they achieved it. The people are well cared for. Everyone gets an allowance of $20 a month, their health care is free, they just have to bring their own medicine and bedding, and the doctors are mostly off in Venezuela where their work is being traded for oil. They get ration cards for food. The infrastructure there is really crumbling, and the Castros are obscenely rich, but it is clearly working. America just surrendered to the Castros, that proves it. 

What inspired my rant about Big Government?  It seems the federal government has a major problem with federal employees spending their time on the taxpayer dollar watching pornography. “It’s appalling that it requires an act of Congress to ensure that federal agencies block access to these sites,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) as he introduced legislation. as chairman of the operations subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

An inspector general report released last year revealed that an EPA official who was caught with thousands of downloaded porn files on his government computer and had watched up to six hours a day while on the job. He was not fired.

The Veterans Affairs Secretary, being challenged by Congress over construction delays, and cost increases at a Denver VA hospital snapped at Rep.Mike Coffman (R-CO) “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?” Mike Coffman has served in both Iraq wars,  but did not respond at the hearing, in a later statement said: “I have never run a federal agency that tolerates corruption the way the VA has. I’ve never built a hospital that’s years behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget. And I’ve never been a shill for inept bureaucrats who allowed American heroes to die on a medical waiting list.”

On the West Coast, the ports are piling up as the ILWU (the longshoremens’ union) is doing a work slowdown to force the ports to give them automatic pay raises, or they will shut down the ports.

A shutdown would not only impact the hundreds of thousands of jobs working directly in America’s transportation supply chain, but the reality is the entire economy would be impacted as exports sit on docks and imports sit in the harbor waiting for manufacturers to build products and retailers to stock shelves.

The average dockworker makes $147,000 a year in salary, plus $35,000 a year in employer-paid health care and an annual $80,000 pension. Where is Ronald Reagan when you need him so? (You do remember when he fired the Air Traffic Control workers, don’t you?)

Obama’s Big Government is not working, and it’s getting worse every day. You notice one little thing after another, and begin to pay attention.



Is The White House Trying to Hide Bowe Bergdahl Charges? by The Elephant's Child

bergdahl-active-duty

Yesterday, Both Fox News and NBC News have reported that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion.

“I have been told and confirmed by two other sources that his attorney has been given what we call a charge sheet,” retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a respected military analyst, told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on Monday. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski quoted senior defense officials on Tuesday as saying charges could be referred within a week.

“A charge sheet is the results of investigation listing out the articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that have been violated,” Shaffer explained. “The key violation is desertion.”

According to Shaffer, an analyst with the London Center for Policy Research, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, who played a key role in the cover-up of administration malfeasance in the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, has been laboring to keep this information under wraps as long as possible. …

Same day, New York Post headline: “Army denies that Bowe Bergdahl is set to be charged with desertion.”

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Lewis, chief of public affairs for the Army, denied the reports, insisting that no decision has been made about Bergdahl.

“The reporting from Fox News and NBC on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is patently false. To be clear there have been no actions or decisions on the Sgt. Bergdahl investigation. The investigation is still with the Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces Command who will determine appropriate action — which ranges from no further action to convening a court martial. We understand the public interest in this case and once a decision has been made, the Army will be open and transparent in this matter.”

The White House does not want Bergdahl to be charged with desertion. There was the big Rose Garden scene with the Bergdahl parents, President Obama actually traded five top Taliban commanders who had been held at Guantanamo Bay to the Taliban for then private Bergdahl.

Bergdahl walked away from his combat post in 2009 in a time of war, leaving behind his weapon, his gear and his fellow soldiers. At least six soldiers were reported to have been killed in operations looking for him.

A statement attributed to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, called the release of the commanders from Gitmo as a “great victory.”

The trade told the world that America was now willing to deal with terrorists. It also broke a law that requires congressional notification of such a trade, and a longstanding pledge that America would never negotiate with terrorists. There is also a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization. It makes no exception for who and under what circumstances.

Col. Schaffer spoke of a “titanic struggle behind the scenes” with the Army trying to do the right thing while the White House worried about the images of a president welcoming the parents of someone now charged with desertion and an ugly terrorist trade-for-deserter narrative coming out.

At the time, several of the men from Bergdahl’s unit came forward to say that he was a deserter. President Obama was taken aback, for he thought that Americans would cheer one of our boys being rescued after five years as a hostage of the Taliban.

It will come out. Too much has already been made public. Obama, as far as I know, has never accepted blame for a mistake or an error in judgment. He may claim credit for someone else’s accomplishments, but he is never, never to blame. It’s going to be interesting.



“Middle Class Economics” Also Known as Income Redistribution by The Elephant's Child

Obama is in the sixth year of his presidency, and he has just discovered that the middle class is not doing so well. So he wants to take up what he calls Middle Class Economics. He seems to describe his economic programs based on their origin, so middle class economics begins with the middle class and expands outward to benefit everyone. Just how this works is unclear.

The number of food stamp beneficiaries exceeds 46,000,000 for the 38th straight months. Republicans consider this a shocking comment on the continued slow recovery. Democrats consider it to be a remarkable accomplishment. It ‘s worthwhile to keep that difference in mind.

Another problem afflicting the middle class is stagnant wages. We are just not seeing the growth in wages that we should  six years after the official end of the Great Recession. Some would attribute that fact to a plentiful supply of workers looking for jobs, but the Obama administration wants to go directly to the cause. They will just force employers to pay workers more.

Hence Obama plans a massive expansion of overtime, raising the cut-off for overtime from the current $23,600 to $50,000, a significant jump— time-and-a-half for anything over 42 hours, and of course he’s got the employers over a barrel on the other side with ObamaCare penalties.

Have you been saving money for the kids’ college education? The money (already taxed) that you put into a  529 plan might have had the audacity to grow, so it’s only fair that you tax the growth — Right? And just in case they have missed anything, they want to raise taxes on capital gains. And he ‘s still plumping for an increase in the minimum wage.

Republicans would consider any request to raise taxes dead in the water, but just what Mr. Obama might attempt to do by executive order remains an unknown.

Nobody thought he’d try to do the things he already has done by executive order or executive memo which is the same thing and carries the same force of law.

Nobody is quite sure what to do with a president who deliberately ignores the constitutional separation of powers. He’s supposed to see that the laws are carried out, and the Congress is supposed to make the laws. The Judicial branch is not supposed to be making laws either, but that’s a separate story.



Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Eric Holder Got Something Right. by The Elephant's Child

eric_holder_fast_furious_contempt_chargesEric holder’s Justice Department finally got something right. He did a good thing. On Friday, the attorney general barred state and local  police from using federal law to seize property from citizens without any criminal charges or even a warrant. Under a program called Equitable Sharing, police could pull someone over for a minor infraction and if they found a large amount of cash, or anything suspicious, they could seize the car and the cash without any evidence that the cash had been obtained illegally. They citizen would then have to prove his innocence to get it back.

The program began back in the early 1980s as a tool to fight the illegal drug trade, which is conducted largely in cash. After 9/11 it was ramped up to fight terrorism.

It has evolved into something far beyond the original intent. Abuses were likely, and it became clear that local police departments could substantially increase their revenue by seizing property and making the property-owners fight to get it back on their own dime.

Ilya Somin detailed some particularly egregious cases at The Volokh Conspiracy. Do follow the link, particularly if you are unfamiliar with civil asset seizure. It seems unbelievable that they could get away with this kind of thing for so long. Civil asset forfeiture is based on the premise that law enforcement official could seize property if they could show a connection between the property and illegal activity. It does not require the property owner to be convicted of a real crime.

Read about the Caswells who owned a motel that his father had built in 1955. The U.S. Department of Justice intended to seize the motel, sell it for perhaps $1.5 million and give 80 percent to the Tewksbury Police Department which has a budget of just $5.5 million.

Lots of examples from Reason, including lots of samples of ‘Christmas Gifts’ Cops seized from people who had purchased the gifts with their own money. These examples of police misbehavior have undoubtedly played a part in the recent accusations against police.




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