American Elephants


Government Employees Earn Almost Double the Average American’s. by The Elephant's Child

The average American wage, as calculated for 2015 (the most recent  available calculations) was $48,908, according to the Social Security Administration. Interestingly enough, the average government salary in 2016, was $83,072—almost double the average American worker.

Federal employees in Washington D.C. and the surrounding metropolitan areas of Maryland and Virginia — where the managers and top-level agency executives live had the highest average salaries. Government employees make slightly more than their counterparts in the private sector on average.

Supposedly the disparity between public sector and private sector employees can be blamed on the need to create incentives to keep experts from moving from a government agency to  private sector business that the agency regulates.

The disparity depends greatly on the employee’s level of education. Federal non-military workers with no education after high school earned 21 percent more than the average non-government worker. Employees with bachelors and masters degrees earned about the same amount in the government as in private enterprises. Government employees with a professional degree or doctorate, however, earned about 23 percent less than private sector counterparts.

While the federal workforce is hardly representative of the entire U.S., the gap disparity between average salaries has been growing for some time. In 2001, the average government worker made 1.39 times what non-government employees made, but that ratio grew to 1.58 by the middle of 2016, according to BLS data compiled by Bloomberg News.

I don’t mind the disparity as much as I mind the fact that Congress excuses themselves from the laws they pass for the rest of the country. That should be changed. Any law should apply equally to Congress and government employees as it does to the American people.

 



Why Did The Democratic South Become Republican?? by The Elephant's Child

I saw another article just today claiming that the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was a Republican attempt to prevent people of color from voting. One should expect that from the crowd that attacks whatever Republicans say or do with shrieks of “Racist,””Sexist,” etc. etc.They were incensed when the President suggested that there was some vote fraud, denied that any such thing could happen, but of course Trump was right.

His commission was designed to assure that every vote counts, but doesn’t count twice. Progressives resist any such investigation.



Hillary has a new book in September “What Happened” by The Elephant's Child

Hillary has a new book coming out in September, clearly written in haste, to explain why she lost. It’s called “What Happened.” (ITS NOT FAIR) She will focus on Russian interference and James Comey’s interference.  Plus (ITS NOT FAIR) misogyny, and just why she lost in no uncertain terms, and counter to the messaging from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer D-NY and former Vice President Joe Biden about the party’s message. A longtime ally said that people will be surprised at how much she reveals.

Unfortunately Hillary did not lose because of Russian interference, though it may be a sop to her pain. She lost because she is not very likeable. When Hillary first became First Lady, there was the scandal about the travel office, and there were innumerable scandals about her cattle futures when she was the governor’s wife in Arkansas, but we tried to ignore all that and give her a chance. She lost me when she taught her daughter to refer to the Secret Service as “the pigs.” It must be somewhat annoying to be unable to go out in public without protection from officers of the Secret Service who are sworn to lay down their lives to protect the President of the United State and his family.

But Hillary was so antagonistic to the Secret Service people that she became noted for unleashing vile attacks on their care. Hillary has always had a mouth like a sewer, which she only uses to underlings and those who can’t do anything about it. As Secretary of State, it was reported that she was so vulgar and rude to her protective staff that they had to send new hires, because none of their regular staff would agree to work with her. That is simply bad character.

As a senator from New York, she went for a guaranteed Democrat seat when Patrick Moynihan retired, and her only bill was to name a post office. She lost the Presidential primary to Barack Obama, but he named her Secretary of State. Her accomplishments in that office were the “Arab Spring,” and refusing help to her ambassador in Libya who begged over and over for more security. She was responsible for the death of her ambassador, his aide, and the death of two brave former Seals who were attempting to save the personnel from the embassy compound.

She failed to understand that although Qaddafi was a vicious dictator, he had given up any interest in nuclear weapons after seeing what happened to Saddam. He was a bad guy, but he was keeping the lid on in a violent country. She thought it time to get rid of him, and did, and Libya erupted and has become a terrorist hell hole. If there were any other accomplishments in that office, no one could identify any.

She became noted as a compulsive liar, lying even when it was entirely unnecessary, as her claim about being under sniper fire when she arrived in Bosnia, even inventing the plane having to spiral in. Videos of her arrival with children on the landing field with flowers to welcome her, did lead her to admit “misspeaking.”

She has long bragged about being a spokesperson for women and women’s rights, but no evidence of any accomplishment there. I absolutely voted against her, as did many who pay attention to the news. It would not occur to us to be influenced by the Russians, though if Putin had a choice, I would assume he would be more opposed to Trump who seemed to be dangerously unpredictable.



What is Fake News? by The Elephant's Child



Black, Millennial, Female and Conservative by The Elephant's Child



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.

 



There Are Refugee Problems in the West, But Europe’s Afghan Crime Wave Is Shocking. by The Elephant's Child

One of our biggest problems, it seems, is the matter of immigration. As a nation, we conflate a wide numbers of separate issues—George Soros advocates for open borders everywhere, then there are the terms migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, exile, emigre, displaced person, and stateless person.  Can you tell the difference? In the first 3 weeks of May, we were admitting 830 people a week as refugees, but the State Department lifted the restriction on the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. to 1,500 each week. 

Then there are 66,000 temporary non agricultural workers admitted under the H2B program—33,000 for the first half of the fiscal year and 33,000 for the second half. An increase is being added and will be announced today. The jobs are based on employer requests. Jobs are for landscapers, lifeguards, carnival workers, factory workers, cooks, maids, and fishery workers. Most come from Mexico, Jamacia, Guatemala, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The Center for Immigration Studies says a new analysis shows the locations where jobs have been offered to guestworkers are even in areas of  high unemployment and low labor force participation, so there is some disconnect and the scrutiny for visa approval is inadequate. Some employers may be using the program as a way around the rules of other guestworker programs. These are not immigrants, but temporary workers.

The H1B program is similar, but for highly educated, highly skilled foreign workers for specialized occupations for a 3 year stay. They are also not immigrants, but temporary workers for jobs that require specialized knowledge or expertise. About half come from India, with significant numbers from China, South Korea and the Philippines. The numbers now stand at 65,o00 a year with another 20,000 for those with masters degrees. There are many complaints about American workers being replaced by cheaper foreign workers. Our illegal immigrant population includes many who have overstayed their visas.

President Trump’s “Muslim Travel Ban” doesn’t really apply to Muslims, and leftist judges keep challenging the regulation, the latest concerns whether grandparents can be considered part of the immediate family. The so-called Muslim Ban is a temporary hold so the federal government can figure out how to vet those who have applied, when no state really exists to vouch for them. But the left has become somewhat deranged at the suggestion of even a temporary ban, looking for sympathetic cases to touch at the heartstrings.

An Iranian cancer researcher traveling to Massachusetts to work at Boston Children’s Hospital was detained last Tuesday at Logan International Airport along with this wife and children before being sent back to Iran.  Outcries from the media. Immigration assured the media that it had nothing to do with the case of Dr, Mohsen Dehnavi, who holds a visiting work visa. The Trump administration order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries can be partially enforced according to the Supreme Court. His visa was valid, yet he was sent back. It seems that in Iran he was a head  of a student branch of a volunteer militia linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Banning a jihadist is what Trump’s travel ban is all about.

Everyone claims that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are about 11,000, but they have been using that number for years, and it never seems to change. There are about  4.4 million people on the immigrant wait list, who have applied and are legally waiting their turn. Here’s a graph that shows how the appeal to immigrate to the United States goes.

European countries have their own laws, but the EU has decided for the countries of Europe how many refugees each nation should accept, and under what conditions and rules. Countries like Poland and Hungary have decided they will not accept Middle Eastern refugees in spite of EU rules. The Eastern European states have had no trouble limiting or banning migrants from the Middle East, or building fences. Germany’s Angela Merkel is the one who welcomed all refugees, and most of Western Europe fell in line. Bureaucrats are always good about making up rules, it’s the people upon whom the rules are inflicted that suffer.

They welcomed the refugees with food and clothing, but have slowly come to realize that it isn’t working. The Scandinavian countries have had some of the worst problems. Denmark observed what is happening in Sweden and made an effort to not fall into the same trap. The governments try to cover up what is happening.

Dr.Cheryl Bernard was the program director of the Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth and the Alternative Strategies Initiative with the RAND Corporation. She has worked with refugees for decades. That the newcomers did not speak the local languages, might be traumatized, take some time to find their footing and have brought their ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts with them, was not surprising but they were expected to be manageable problems.

There was one development that had not been expected, and was not tolerable: the large and growing incidence of sexual assaults committed by refugees against local women. These were not of the cultural-misunderstanding-date-rape sort, but were vicious, no-preamble attacks on random girls and women, often committed by gangs or packs of young men. At first, the incidents were downplayed or hushed up—no one wanted to provide the right wing with fodder for nationalist agitation, and the hope was that these were isolated instances caused by a small problem group of outliers.

As the incidents increased …the matter could no longer be swept under the carpet of political correctness. And with the official acknowledgment and public reporting, a weird and puzzling footnote emerged. Most of the assaults were being committed by refugees of one particular nationality: by Afghans.

Actually Afghans should not even have been part of the refugee tide, at least not in significant numbers. It was the Syrians who were expected. Afghanistan, a place of lingering and chronic conflict, is no longer on the official refugee roster—that’s reserved for acute political and military emergencies.

Dr. Bernard is deeply experienced in work with refugees from all over the Middle East, and she was shocked. Her research is impressive and thorough, and the picture that emerges is devastating. Please read the whole thing. We all need to understand what is happening.  She suggests that there are ways to deal with the refugee wave, but it’s not going to be easy and “the Left has to do a bit of hard thinking. It’s fine to be warm, fuzzy and sentimental about strangers arriving on your shore,” but we have our own values, freedom, and lifestyle to protect. And the freedom we have is worth defending.

We need to understand what is happening in Europe, which mostly doesn’t make headlines, because all too soon it may be happening here. Political Correctness rules in Europe as well as here. It is an important article, and casts a very different light on our ideas of immigration, refugees, and how we should think about them and how we should deal with them.

 




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