American Elephants


A Question of Character. by The Elephant's Child

hillary clintonHillary’s greatest problem is that though she has a profound interest in politics, she has really lousy political instincts. That is a sense of the right thing to do and a sense for how one’s actions will appear to others. The Clinton administration was full of controversy, the travel office scandal erupted early, as did Hillary’s expectation of being Bill’s co-president.

What she learned instead was a defensiveness and self-protective attitude that led to lies and concealment. Bill had pretty good political instincts, and a good-old-boy, aw-shucks grin that served him pretty well. You would think that observing Lois Lerner and her e-mail scandal would have alerted Hillary to potential troubles, but instead it led her to have her own private server installed in her home. Secretiveness replaced openness. When you try to pretend openness as a protective pose — nobody believes you anyway. It’s too late.

Good political instincts would have prevented the whole catastrophe of Benghazi. Deposing Muammar Gaddafi, refusing security to the ambassadorial mission, denial of the nature of the terrorist attackers, refusing help to the embattled American contractors, and then the absurd attempt to blame it all on a short, dumb video, and then Hillary met the plane with the bodies returning to the United States, and assured mourning parents that they would get the guy who made the video.

Any careful read of Hillary’s history should prevent her from ever being considered as “the first woman president” which seems to be her aim. I don’t accept the idea of first of this sex, first of this ethnicity, first of this color. That is not what is important about a person’s qualifications, but rather their accomplishments and their character. Can we trust them with high office? Do they have a good understanding of American history and character? Do they have a good mind? Do they have good political instincts?  Trust it to the Left to always put the emphasis on the wrong things.



Dentists Will Now Feel the Bite of Competition by The Elephant's Child

Many professions have banded together to establish boards for professional licensing. Boards that are composed of people who practice the profession are the norm. Nobody else really knows the details of the profession, what education or training is needed, what is ethical and what is not. In many cases the boards are required by statute to be staffed by a majority of active market participants. So it is easy to slip over into making the requirements more stringent, or to eliminate competition.

In 2006, the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners banned salons, spas and other businesses from offering teeth-whitening services — essentially eliminating the competition. The FTC sued, arguing that the move constituted unfair competition in violation of the 1914 Federal Trade Commission Act. In Ninth Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, the Supreme Court affirmed the FTC’s position that state licensing boards controlled by “active market participants” are exempt from antitrust lawsuits only if they are also supervised by the state government.

It’s all very complicated, but it means that professional boards won’t be able to get away with trying to prevent competition.

Here in Washington State, the professional decorators have been trying to get the people of Washington to make it illegal for anyone to be compensated for decorating a home unless they belong to the professional organizations of decorators, and meet the standards required. Hasn’t worked. Most people seem to think that if a friend wants to give you advice on what color to paint your kitchen and help you with the tile, they shouldn’t require a special license.

Probably more people are familiar with cosmetologists and hair- braiders. The cosmetology boards require lengthy education in permanents, hair cutting, styling, dyeing (some of that stuff is dangerous) have wanted to require those who are engaging in hair-braiding to get a cosmetology license, since it’s also involved with hair. Hair-braiding is a distinct art, and quite beautiful, but does not involve the skills of a cosmetologist, and the schooling and licensing is expensive. I have seen braided hair that is so elaborate and lovely that I want to stop the woman and ask if she would mind if I stare a bit, but I’ve never had the nerve.

The ruling would seem to be a very good thing, requiring mostly some common sense. When practitioners just want to exclude competition, they are out of line.

This self-regulation has led to self-dealing: Cosmetologists, for example, are required on average to have 10 times as many days of training as emergency medical technicians. In Alabama, the unlicensed practice of interior design was a criminal offense until 2007. As the dentist case illustrates, even the boards of licensed “learned professions”—dentists, physicians and lawyers—create arbitrary restrictions.

But as with all thing legal and illegal, more lawsuits are possible. In general, the Supreme Court is opposed to cartel activity, and this seems like a good step forward.



Hillary Has Managed To Step In It Again! by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday’s news moved on from the Netanyahu speech to Hillary’s e-mails. It appears that for six years, Hillary was in violation of State Department  regulations for using private e-mails. Government e-mails are supposed to be preserved and archived. It’s all about transparency.

Hillary has remarkably poor political instincts. She is a liar. She will usually attempt to cover up her errors rather than learn from them. She can be counted on to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Her mind is on her ambition and how to get there, and she seldom realizes how what she says or does will appear. She is greedy and wants to match the wealth and style of those with whom she chooses to associate—hence her impressive fees for speeches and demand for royal treatment wherever she goes.  It’s against the law to accept money from foreign countries when you hold a public office like Secretary of State, but she wants a big foundation and does not want to be accountable. Republicans have noticed.



Send Obama Dozens of Bills to Veto. Make His Warped Ideology Clear to All. by The Elephant's Child

MG_4735-Panorama_01Obama, as expected, vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline bill. I would have thought there were the votes to override, but they undoubtedly needed some Democrat votes in the Senate (I haven’t seen the numbers), and Democrats march in lockstep. This bill was meant to speed up the process a bit.

Since it crosses an international border, the State Department has to study the agreement and approve it.  The Clinton State Department approved it, the Kerry State Department approved it, but now they decided that the State Department has to consult all the government agencies to determine if it is “in the best interests of the country.”That is a new hurdle, and undoubtedly the one to kill it permanently. Unbelievably stupid.

Obama  has weighed in on that himself — extensively — with whoppers big enough to get him a full four Pinocchios from the Washington Post. But I just went into that on Monday. Surely he can’t be so ill-informed at this late day. This has been going on for something like 6 years. Mr. International Relations Obama has antagonized our most important trading partner to the North. I’m sure that several departments will be happy to swear that it is not in the best interests of the United States, though they may have a hard time coming up with reasons that anyone would believe.

The EPA has just been slapped down in court, again. I imagine Interior will be happy to chime in.

King Cove, Alaska, pictured above, is a remote Aleutian fishing village that is often locked in by gale force winds and fog. They have a clinic but no doctor and no hospital — for trauma cases or difficult childbirth they need to get to an airstrip in bad weather that is 22 miles away. They requested a one lane gravel road from the Interior Department that would allow access to lifesaving medical care. Etta Kuzakin, a 36 year-old King Cove resident needed an emergency Caesarean section after going into early labor. Ms. Jewell rejected the road because “it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.” Waterfowl cannot cross a one lane gravel road? Please!

Ms. Jewell is already on my idiot list. A former president of REI, she is supposedly an outdoorswoman, but when she spoke to her new department, she announced “I hope there aren’t any “deniers” in this department.” Not cool.  Aside from that, the feds are going to spend $10,450,000 to help Native Americans adapt to “Climate Change.” They will teach Great Basin tribes how to adapt to global warming as it affects their hunting fishing and “gathering activities.” That’s my favorite bureaucrat story. And a major reason why I believe in a much smaller government!

Obama’s opposition can only be due to Tom Steyer’s money, as there is no sane reason to  oppose a pipeline that is clearly in the best interests of both Canadians and Americans.



Is There No End To Obama’s Drive to Control Everything With “Executive Orders?” by The Elephant's Child

ferguson-riots-burning-car
President Barack Obama seems to be indignant that we had a wave election, putting the Republicans in charge of Congress and has determined to just go ahead and do what he wants to anyway.  And he has apparently instructed Democrats in Congress to do the same. Democrats are convinced that their vision of moral and social progress is the pathway to a “better world.” “Their belief in a redeemed future accounts for their political passion and for their furious personal assaults on those who stand in their way.” Slipping into full tyrant mode is not a problem. Republicans are the enemies of the just and the good, and defeating them at every opportunity is a step forward.

So Monday, President Barack Obama introduced his plan for a progressive takeover of state and local policing.

We have a great opportunity… to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations,” he said Monday.

“We need to seize that opportunity… this is something that I’m going to stay very focused on in the months to come,” Obama said, as he touted a new interim report from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Obama also instructed his media allies to help federalize policing, and to sideline the critics of centralized policing rules. “I expect our friends in the media to really focus on what’s in this report and pay attention to it,” he instructed.

This is, of course, derived from Ferguson, and the police shooting of “the unarmed young black man” that was endlessly played up by Mr. Obama, his deputies, Al Sharpton, and the Justice Department. Timing, however, is everything.

The Justice Department today announced that it will not charge former Ferguson MO police office Darren Wilson with any civil rights violations in the “racially charged” shooting death of Michael Brown. Encouraged by the administration, the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to charge Wilson in the shooting set off massive protests, rioting and looting in the area and around the country. I have never quite grasped just why looting is a viable response to angry feelings.

In order to clean up the record, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan used by Democrat activists endlessly since August 2014 was a complete falsehood. He acknowledged the fake story as he released the results of the Justice Department’s investigation of the Ferguson shooting.

Instead, Holder suggested the media and Americans recognize the fakery. “It remains not only valid – but essential – to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily,” he said.

The town had a “highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided [police] practices – [so] it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” he said.

Those claims of police abuse are being used by Holder to promote President Barack Obama’s new effort to federalize police practices in states and localities.

The report also admitted that Police Officer Darren Wilson’s description of the incident was completely accurate and confirmed by witnesses.

An incident hyped up by the lapdog media and the administration was an attempt to bring out a big black vote in the 2014 election, but the issue was not only the issue, but part of Obama’s plan to federalize the police force.



Obama Versus The Pipeline: An Ideological Battle! by The Elephant's Child

keystone1

President Obama  in an interview with WDAY of Fargo ND, Feb. 26, 2015 — tried to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline:

“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”

Obama has come to believe that he can say whatever he wants and the people will believe it, and it’s getting to be embarrassing.

Infrastructure is just equipment and structures like, well, pipelines. Building infrastructure is a construction job. Construction jobs only last until the structure is complete, and then construction workers move on to the next project. There are around 20,000 high-paying construction jobs in the pipeline and in materials, and the State Department estimates 42,000 spin-off jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy. Beats losers like Solyndra and the enormous Ivanpah Project.

The crude oil would indeed travel to the Gulf Coast. and be refined there. Most of the refined product is likely to be consumed in the United States. For Gulf refineries heavy bitumen from the oil sands is an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America. A report from IHS Energy concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States. Canadian crude is eligible for crude export licenses. The likelihood that WCSB crudes would be exported in volume is considered low.

TransCanada has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, and about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity has been set aside for the Bakken region. U.S companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region, so production is not strictly Canadian, But the last time I looked, Canada was our friendly neighbor to the North, and our most important trading partner.

Obama got  Four Pinocchios for that speech from the Washington Post Fact Checker.



The EPA Gets Slapped Down By the Federal Court Once Again by The Elephant's Child

McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection AgencyFederal Judge Royce C. Lamberth  today warned the EPA not to discriminate against conservative groups in how it responds to open records requests. He said the agency may have lied to the court and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law.

He said he could not prove that officials intentionally destroyed documents, but he described as an “absurdity” the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Landmark Legal Foundation and the court case stemming from it—including late last week admitting that it misled the court about how it went about  “searching for documents.”

In a scorching 25-page opinion, the judge accused the agency of insulting him by first claiming it had conducted a full search for records, then years later retracted that claim in a footnote to another document without giving any explanation for how it erred.

“The recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency,” the judge said. “This court would implore the executive branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests — regardless of the political affiliation of the requester — are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.”

This particular ruling can also be seen as a rebuke to President Obama who vowed to run the “most transparent administration in history” but has received constant challenges over how that vow has been carried out. Judge Lamberth made a point of the EPA delay of follow through on Landmark’s request until after the 2012 elections, and said explanations by EPA officials for why they failed to live up to the law “defied reason.”

Mark Levin, Landmark’s president, said it is up to the president to decide how to respond, but people should be fired. Nena Shaw and Eric Wachter, Judge Lamberth said, either lied to the court or showed utter indifference to the law.

Is it proper to send roses to a federal court? Probably not, but this arrogant agency certainly deserves a legal slap-down.




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