American Elephants


The Private Sector Fires Incompetents. The Feds Reward Them! by The Elephant's Child

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It was only a day or two ago that I wrote “The federal government has too many people working for the government, and there isn’t enough work for them to do. Government workers make 78%  more for comparable jobs, according to Cato. They call themselves “public servants,” but they don’t mean it. When they start to think of the U.S. Constitution as an impediment rather than a guarantee that the government belongs to the people and the public servants are there to work for us, not the other way around, we’re in trouble. So here we are.”

Federal workers make on average nearly twice as much as those in the private sector, but government employee unions want a pay increase more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed.
The American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Postal Workers’ Union and 20 other unions representing federal workers sent a letter to Congress seeking a 5.3 percent pay hike next year. President Obama proposed a 1.6 percent raise.

How about a 10% pay cut to bring them more into line with the rest of the country?  If you include benefits, the average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, including salary and benefits compared to the private sector average of $67,000. (an October 2015 study by the Cato Institute) If you add in health care and pensions, it’s even a bigger gap.

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All the workers in the federal government are, according to the federal government — above average. This rating of worker performance is clearly absurd, as anyone who has ever had contact with a federal bureaucrat can attest. But a review of federal worker performance ratings by the GAO found that 99.5% of them got a “fully successful” rating or above. More than a third were given the highest rating of “outstanding.” At the other end of the ratings only 0.4% were rated as “minimally successful” and 0.1% as “unacceptable.”

Don’t everybody rush to get a government job at once. These “fully successful” workers “blew $2 billion on a botch Healthcare.gov website, made more than $100 billion in overpayments to go to government beneficiaries, run the TSA, fired veterans unto deadly wait lists for care, allowed their databases to be hacked, spent over 10 years and $1 billion trying to digitize 100 immigration forms only to get just one done.” And the list goes on — and on.

It is not just hard to fire a federal employee, but nearly impossible to rate them as anything less than “fully successful.” A manager who does must spend significant time developing performance improvement plans. Workers who don’t get a gold star can and do appeal their ratings by filing a union grievance with the Merit Systems Protection Board. That may be another agency we could do without.

The private sector has a direct financial interest in weeding out bad apples, and accurately assessing worker performance. Those incentives just don’t exist in the government. Failure usually results in bigger budgets and more money.

Republicans talk a lot about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. You haven’t been paying attention. They mean it, but they need encouragement, lots of it, because it is very hard to do. And needs doing very badly.

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Hee, Hee, Hee! by The Elephant's Child

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(From Mark J. Perry at AEI)



Why Have Immigration Laws if The President Just Makes Up His Own? by The Elephant's Child

In the case over the Obama administration’s controversial immigration reforms, U.S. v. Texas, the Supreme Court confessed its inability to bring clarity to the broader debate over the scope of  executive authority, splitting four-four and affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by an equally divided vote. This essentially means that in all likelihood, had Justice Antonin Scalia not passed away earlier this year it would have been settled.

On Thursday the Supreme Court shot down Barack Obama’s illegal executive amnesty – something he alleged at least 22 times he did not have the authority to pass before he went ahead and pushed through his executive authority anyway.

“During his comments Barack Obama once again argued that we need illegal aliens to “make our beds.” Well, never mind. “Speaking shortly after the Supreme Court’s immigration decision, President Obama made it ‘very clear’ that deporting illegal immigrants is not a priority of his administration.”

We knew that. We are interested in why this president who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution believes that he should overrule it.  Obama wants more Democrat voters. He has lied about deportations insisting that he has deported more people than any other president in history. That’s hooey. There are always consequences. Criminal immigrants reoffend at a higher level than ICE has suggested.  A smuggling network brings Middle East illegalsObama-shoes-3 to our border. Obama accuses a judge of “scaring’ illegal aliens from signing up for amnesty. Here are the shoes handed out to many of the “unaccompanied children” who arrived last year, to remind them of just who allowed them in, and gave them shoes.

Six diseases that had been near eradication are making a comeback, thanks to Obama’s refugee resettlement industry.  They are 1.Tuberculosis 2.Measles 3.Whooping Cough 4.Mumps 5.Scarlet Fever and 6. Bubonic Plague. The number of communicable TB cases, dubbed active TB, increased by 1.7 percent to 9,563 in 2015, after 23 years of steady decline in the United States. Parents who got all excited about the canard that vaccination is bad, should investigate those claims a little more thoroughly.

The problem is not so much illegal immigration, as it is that the President of the United States seems to believe that he is above the law and has no need to follow the laws. That’s really a problem.



Brexit: The Movie. Explains the Tyranny of the “Experts” by The Elephant's Child

The markets are in turmoil. They just don’t like uncertainty at all. They may be confident of their own positions, but what about the other guy? This movie is quite wonderful, do watch.

The Presidents at the EU are furious. There are several — four, I think, heading up different commissions. All are unelected and the Members of the European Parliament have nothing to say about them, nor about their pronouncements. They are so indignant that they want to morph all the member nations of the EU into one giant Superstate, run by themselves, of course.  The Europeans have never liked Democracy. They are loath to give away any power.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany will reveal a blueprint to do away with individual member states in an “ultimatum.” Under the proposals, EU countries would lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or a central bank, all those powers would be transferred to Brussels. This is going to be remarkably interesting.

Fredrick Forsyth (yes, that Fredrick Forsyth) has a long article explaining how the EU came about in the wake of the devastation of Europe after two World Wars. It’s worth your time to understand what’s going on in the present. Well, history is littered with bad ideas that promised a brighter future — the Thousand Year Reich was one of them, you can probably come up with quite a few others.

(Thanks to Maggie’s Farm for the link)



Why Won’t Barack Obama Say the Words “Radical Islam”? by The Elephant's Child

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Why does Barack Obama refuse to utter the words “Radical Islam?” Why does the phrase in the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” which has a clear meaning, seem to prohibit our federal agencies from doing necessary background inquiries regarding those who appear to be radicalized Muslims?  Major Nidal Hassan who fatally shot 13 people at Fort Hood and wounded more than 30 others was clearly observed to be radicalized and dangerous, but nobody would do anything about it because he was Muslim.

Omar Mateen was allowed to avoid serious investigation because he was a Muslim. He blamed his actions on Islamophobia. He talked a lot about how he wanted to kill people. Disney reported that Mateen and his wife were casing Disney World back in April. But real investigation stopped because he was a Muslim.

After the deadliest mass shooting in American history. President Obama was angry, impassioned — at Republicans? Huh? David Harsanyi notes the occasion at NRO: (Do read the whole thing)

“That’s the key,” they tell us,” Obama said, eviscerating the GOP. “We can’t beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists. What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?

Victor Davis Hanson wrote about Orlando and “domestic terrorism:”

Most disturbing is the serial inability of the Obama administration — in this case as after the attacks at Fort Hood and in Boston and San Bernardino — even to name the culprits as radical Islamists. Major Hasan shouts “Allahu akbar!” and Omar Mateen calls 911 in mediis interfectis to boast of his ISIS affiliation — and yet the administration can still not utter the name of the catalyst of their attacks: radical Islam. It is hard to envision any clearer Islamist self-identification, other than name tags and uniforms. The Obama team seems to fear the unwelcome public responses to these repeated terrorist operations rather than seeing them as requisites for changing policies to prevent their recurrence.

The current Leftist seems to be consumed by the belief that Michelle Obama derived from her husband. “All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be,” which seems to be derived from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. They dream of an imagined world  that is self-evidently superior to the existing order. Their world is consumed with the glorious future of which they dream and the current battle against the Right.

That leaves little time for reflection or study, so they rely heavily on leftist talking points that are handed down to the press and to Democratic spokesmen. That’s why there are always examples of the entire Democrat apparatus speaking of the same event in exactly the same words. Talking points. And they seem remarkably ill-informed.

Obama clearly was influenced by the years he spent in Muslim Indonesia before he was 10 years old, but there is no evidence that he is Muslim. Many of us believe that his much ballyhooed “Iran Deal” is an absolute disaster and a major danger to the United States, yet the president sees it as a great accomplishment. Why?

I believe he sees the Middle East in a domestic battle between Sunni and Shia for dominance, which we ignited — with the Invasion of Iraq — and made worse with our brutal treatment of the Iraqis, killing Muslims and destroying property. Obama’s closest advisor is Valerie Jarrett who was raised in Iran.

He regards Arab Muslims with their wealth and palaces and yachts as the problem, and the enlightened and educated Persians as a better class to control the Middle East. He believes we should turn the entire area over to the Iranians to manage. He thinks we have no business in the Middle East at all, and believes America should play a smaller role in the world, as just one among many nations. He sees the cries of the Ayatollah for “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” as some sort of rallying cry or public relations, but not anything that is meant seriously. He said, when he was trying to sell his Iran Deal to Americans, that he did not believe that Iran would ever use a nuclear weapon.

Obama, we are told, does not change his mind. Once he believes something, it is set in concrete. He was heavily influenced by Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American firebrand professor of Middle East studies at Columbia, and I assume Obama believes that Israel is the major problem in the Middle East. Obama’s great accomplishment was to create a “two-state solution”, and he is furious that he hasn’t been able to bring it about. Palestinians aren’t ready to stop trying to kill Israelis with rockets and stabbings and tunnels to attack Israelis in their homes, which is somewhat inclined to give the Israelis a jaundiced view of the fabled “Peace Process.”

I have no expertise in the Middle East, never been there, this is only what I have derived from my reading, but I do read a lot. When an enemy leads chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,”and hangs citizens of his own country who disagree with him, I’m inclined to believe him. When they demand the ability to build nuclear plants that are clearly not needed to produce power, and everybody says they are developing nuclear weapons, I’m inclined to believe them. When they are pursing intercontinental ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon, I’m a more than a little skeptical about Mr. Obama’s Iran Deal. That’s why he won’t say “Radical Islam.”



“What Kind of World Will We Have When These People Graduate” by The Elephant's Child

Christina Hoff Sommers interviews Camille Paglia — Feminism 2.0, or all about “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” from AEI. The universities are turning our children into sheeple who mindlessly follow the crowd — or good little collectivists.

The universities and colleges have become safe spaces for alienated intellectuals who can traffic in the realm of ideas. “Their alienation stems from the low regard that the modern capitalist world has for their utopias, even though to the intellectuals, these imagined worlds were self-evidently superior to the existing order.” They would restore the great universal harmony that was destroyed by the desire for profit. Social transfiguration. Isn’t that why you saved and saved to send your kids to college?



Looking at History through a Contemporary Political Lens by The Elephant's Child

Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia take on the contemporary campus trend of trying to remake history into something more appropriate to young people’s vague understanding of the past. Has to be fixed. Some of those old historic people actually owned slaves. Were not politically correct. Statues must be removed, names of buildings changed, can’t have inappropriate street names, monuments.  Safe Spaces. Do not encounter things that are different or difficult.




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