American Elephants


Squeezing in as Many Last-Minute Orders as Possible! by The Elephant's Child

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There are only eight days until the inauguration. President Obama has given his farewell speech to a few thousand of his most enamored fans, who loved every single word, most of which were “I”.  President Obama has a legacy to shore up. So far, there’s not much there. Liz Peak, who usually writes for The Fiscal Times wrote a piece for Fox News on “Obama’s full-blown, year-end temper tantrum

Let’s be honest: President Obama is throwing a good old-fashioned foot-stomping world class temper tantrum. He is just beside himself that the stupid American voter elected Donald Trump. How could the country willfully dismiss the erudite recommendation of nearly every news organization in the nation – as well as Obama’s personal plea that not electing Hillary would be a personal insult to him? How could young people not respond to Obama’s call to “bend the arc of history in a better direction?” It is beyond comprehension.

But it happened, and Obama is having an extremely difficult time dealing with what may be his first-ever serious setback. …

So he is attempting to squeak in everything he possibly can in these last few days. He announced that his administration is ending the longstanding immigration policy that allowed Cubans fleeing their communist country to remain in this country if they can get here. The change means that Cuban nationals who come to the U.S. illegally will be returned to Cuba to face torture or death. “The future of Cuba should be in the hands of the Cuban people” Obama said. Unfortunately it is not in the hands of the people but in the hands of Raul Castro and his police forces, and they don’t like dissent.

Democrats are beside themselves with fear of what they see as “the new authoritarianism” of the incoming administration. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has been an outspoken advocate of charter schools, which the teacher’s unions oppose, but is for kids stuck in poorly performing schools, a lifesaving step for poor black children. She is also an opponent of Common Core. Reporters and Democrat activists advocated donations to the ACLU and other organizations devoted to civil liberty in the wake of an authoritarian government. It seems that Betsy DeVos has donated extensively to F.I.R.E. (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), a splendid organization that protects students’ rights to free speech, and is seeking to overturn an Obama administration policy that made it easier to discipline students accused of sexual harassment or assault. Way too many false accusations, and FIRE advocates for the interests of both the accuser and the accused, rather than just expelling students after kangaroo court show trials as activists demand.

Democrats in the House and Senate have proposed new legislation that aims to ensure that companies pay taxes on “excessive” employee pay. It’s meant to stop senior employees fro getting huge bonuses that the companies can deduct from their corporate tax bill each year. Nothing in the legislation to affect the excessive employee bonuses in federal agencies meant to use up the appropriated funds, so the agency can get a bigger appropriation next year. Under current law, companies can deduct employee salaries from their taxable income as long as the pay does not exceed $1 million a year.

President Obama has designated three new national monuments having to do with the Reconstruction era and the civil rights movement. He announced the establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Freedom Riders National Monument and the Reconstruction Era National Monument. The Birmingham Civil Rights Monument protects the historic A.G. Gaston Motel. The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama includes a Greyhound Bus Station and a site where the bus was firebombed. The Reconstruction Era includes four sites which will tell the story of  Reconstruction after the Civil War. He also announced the expansion of other national sites, the California Coastal National Monument and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The federal government is anxious to turn ever more private land over to the government to control. The problem is that the federal government does a lousy job of taking care of its parks and monuments.

ObamaCare is still trying to sign up the young. The failure of ObamaCare to sign up enough younger and healthier individuals to offset the cost of covering older and sicker enrollees is one of the big problems with the program. Trouble is Millennials aren’t anxious to buy coverage to pay for those older and sicker people. Which is just one of the reasons that ObamaCare is collapsing and Republicans want to repeal the law.

It’s all rather embarrassing. If Congress does not choose to ignore them and they become law, it is unfortunate and takes time to undo. If Congress reacts, that takes up their time that could be spent doing other things. Remarkably petty. But that’s Obama.

ADDENDUM: Obama is having the Justice Dept. Inspector General look into Comey’s  release of information about Hillary’s “private” insecure email systems at her home, run by some haywire operation in Colorado. It perhaps spread information about her emails a little wider, but her emails had been public knowledge for some time. Seven more days. Obama will cram in as many more regulations and executive orders as he can. So much for the peaceful transition.



The President Hasn’t Changed in Eight Years. by The Elephant's Child
January 12, 2017, 6:27 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Unemployment

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Back in 2008, Richard Epstein, Professor of Law, Fellow at the Hoover Institution, told us that Barack Obama, who he knew at the University of Chicago, was remarkably fixed in his opinions. Once he made up his mind, Epstein said, it was fixed in concrete. He did not change his mind.

Eight years later, as President Barack Obama prepares to leave office,  his farewell speech given in his hometown, Chicago, he made it quite clear that he hasn’t changed his mind about anything.  We simply got another haughty lecture about “Who We Really Are.” It’s just the standard far left worldview.

Real patriotism means the State is the moral center of society. Humanity is deeply flawed and needs to be fixed. Racism is rampant. Congress is dysfunctional. We need to save the Earth from global warming. He wanted to close Guantanamo, and is releasing detainees as rapidly as possible. He believes that black Americans are unfairly put in jail, and is pardoning them as fast as he can. He has saved the Middle East with his brilliant Iran Deal. He’s bringing in Muslim “refugees” as fast as he can, and distributing them into red states to try to change the electoral balance.

He seems to believe that he saved the country from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, except that the recession ended in June of 2009.  The labor participation rate in January of 2009 was 65.7%. The labor participation rate in January of 2017 was 62.7 %, historically low. The last time it was that low was in 1978. There were only 156,000 new jobs in December, down from 204,000 in November. The problem is that we are adding more population to the workforce than there are jobs. The White House just keeps adding all the jobs created and leaves out the new people entering the workforce. It’s one way to create a “legacy.”

One of the most startling things Obama had to say to the cheering crowd was that “No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland in the last eight years.” David Harsanyi of the Federalist responded:

Now, if you don’t count the attack in San Bernardino, where a ISIS-inspired couple murdered 14 people and wounded another 22; or the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack on Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were murdered and 53 wounded; and if you forget the Fort Hood shooting in Texas, where an Islamist U.S. Army officer murdered 13 people and wounded 32; and you skip the Boston Marathon bombings where Islamists murdered three and wounded another 264; then, perhaps, the president’s claim might have some veracity.

Otherwise, the idea is preposterous no matter how meticulously Obama constructs his sentences. This isn’t exactly as blatant a falsehood as our incoming president likes to drop on occasion, but it’s no less misleading. No, there isn’t a central planning committee meeting where violent foreign terrorist organizations hatch a specific plan to attack America. Yet, somehow, the adherents of violent theology know exactly what they need to do without checking in for instructions. Obama spent eight years refusing to acknowledge this reality — and many others.

In trying to establish his legacy in the minds of his listeners, Obama offered Americans a revisionist history. Some may see it differently, but he has a different truth for them, and for our Democracy.  I wonder if he knows that this is a constitutional republic, and not meant to be a Democracy at all.

I didn’t vote for Obama, because I felt he was too inexperienced, but I wished him well. He’s a stylish man with a handsome family and a skilled campaigner and speaker. I think his Iran Deal is and was a disaster, and increases the likelihood that we will suffer a nuclear strike in the future. But by that time we’ll be able to blame it on somebody else. Blaming Bush can now be set aside. Obama keeps reminding us that President Bush made the transition easy for him, and he wants to do the same thing for his successor. He just can’t quite bring himself to manage it.



Government Bureaucracy: The Last Word. by The Elephant's Child

From Economist Daniel Mitchell, government bureaucracies everywhere. A young woman seeks a permit from a government bureaucracy.



Ten More Days. What More Can Obama Do To Sabotage the Inauguration? by The Elephant's Child

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It’s quite clear that President Obama is having a temper tantrum in his final days as president. He seems to be doing absolutely everything he can think of to cause problems for the incoming administration and the American people. Talk about a graceless exit!

Most importantly, Obama wants the American people to believe that Hillary lost the election and the opportunity to retain all of his policies, because of Russian hacking. Not just that, Trump, you see, said he wants to try to get along with President Putin, and Trump even said that Putin is a “strong leader.” And Trump has named as his Secretary of State, one Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil. Besides being head of a world renowned evil OIL company, Mr. Tillerson actually knows Vladimir Putin, and has a friendly relation with him. Obviously Mr Trump is planning to turn America over to the Russians, or something like that.

The reason why it is so important that you blame Hillary’s loss on the Russians, is because she was going to extend Obama’s wonderful policies, otherwise people might think that the Democrats’ loss of the election was somehow a rejection of the Obama administration. And the American people could not possibly have meant that. Obama said that if he could run for a third term, the American people would vote for him.

It is clear that if there was any Russian hacking, it had no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the election, unless millions of citizens read that the Russians had possibly hacked the Democratic National Committee, and John Podesta’s email, and suddenly decided that because of that they had to change their vote and vote for Trump.  Sound likely? Didn’t think so. There was no hacking that affected the electoral vote whatsoever. Didn’t happen.

Here’s Investor Business Daily’s take on the Russian Election Hacking case.

Here’s fearless reporter Sharyl Attkisson with Eight Facts on the”Russian Hacks.”

Here’s John Hinderaker at Powerline “Today’s Intelligence Report Proves Nothing (Updated)

David Harsanyi at The Federalist: “Russia Isn’t our Friend, But That Doesn’t Make the Left’s Conspiracy Theories True.”

Here’s Victor Davis Hanson, who sums up the whole flap in “Obama’s Legacy of Deceit”

Why does the Obama administration contort reality and mask the consequences of its initiatives?

Two reasons come to mind. One, Obama advanced an agenda to the left of that shared by most past presidents. Obamacare, the Benghazi catastrophe, the Iran deal, his strange stance toward radical Islam, and the Bergdahl swap were unpopular measures that required politically-driven recalibrations to escape American scrutiny.

Second, Obama’s team believes that the goals of fairness and egalitarianism more than justify the means of dissimulation by more sophisticated elites. Thus Gruber (“the stupidity of the American voter”) and Rhodes (“They literally know nothing”) employ deception on our behalf. Central to this worldview is that the American people are naive and easily manipulated, and thus need to be brought up to speed by a paternal administration that knows what is best for its vulnerable and clueless citizenry.

Such condescension is also why the administration never believes it has done anything wrong by hiding the facts of these controversies. Its players believe that because they did it all for us, the ensuing distasteful means will be forgotten once we finally progress enough to appreciate their enlightened ends.



“We Will Resist” Intoned Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by The Elephant's Child

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Shocked by the Left’s response to the election of Donald Trump, we have  responded badly, with calls of “poor losers” as if they were mere spoiled children, or spoilsports in a childhood game. This is not a game, these are not children. These are adults who are old enough to know better. They are not innocents demanding their own way simply because they are frustrated, kicking and screaming with clenched fists and red faces. They are the real thing. Tyrants.

Chuck Schumer, the new Senate Minority Leader, made clear in a speech on the Senate floor that he intends to do everything he can to use his 48-seat minority as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr. Schumer offered up the possibility of compromise on “issues like infrastructure, trade and closing the carried interest loophole,” though the public-works spending must be “significant, direct spending,” not tax credits. You almost have to admire his Stakhanovite dedication to the tiny carried interest tax provision, though we’re willing to bet Mr. Schumer will find other reasons to oppose a serious tax reform that eliminates it.

But that was it for the olive branches, saying that on most Republican priorities “we will resist.” He laced into Mr. Trump’s appointees as “stacked with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street, and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power.” He did not mention that two of those “titans” hail from Goldman Sachs, source of many donations to Senate Democrats.

The Minority Leader saved his most partisan remarks for MSNBC, aptly enough, where he all but promised to block any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail,” he said. When the MSNBC host asked if Mr. Schumer would do his best to keep the current vacancy on the High Court open, he responded “absolutely.”

Mr. Schumer’s real objections? Democrats don’t like the Constitution, the envy of the world, preserving our freedom from tyranny. What’s wrong with that splendid document? Democrats don’t like free speech. It allows people to say things that Democrats don’t like. They don’t like religious freedom—they want to do away with religion, and the family, freedom of association. They don’t like freedom of the press because that allows things like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

They most particularly don’t like the right to keep and bear arms. They worked against guns on the basis that it was only for militias, but that didn’t work, and now they are just going for the guns themselves, as if guns were running around and shooting people without any human collaboration. In a government under the tyranny of the Left, I could be put in prison for writing a post like this. Or  killed. It has happened in many previous tyrannies. Cuba. Venezuela. North Korea—Kim Jong Un actually assassinated one of his people with a howitzer. Boom, you’re dead! Then there’s most of the countries in the Middle East, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot. There’s a long, long list of governments that want complete control of all the people and no disagreement whatsoever.

They don’t learn from what is happening in the world either. Britain’s National Health Service—deeply admired by democrats—is killing off its old people with neglect, dehydration and lack of attention. You can read about the failures in the British papers regularly. Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country and a murder rate higher than New York and Los Angeles put together.

A simple study of the rules of economics demonstrates why raising the minimum wage by government regulation does not help those workers, and acts as an unemployment program for young blacks, but Democrats call Republicans “racist” for opposing the raise—but then that’s just their standard epithet. If repeated often enough, people start to believe it, despite the falsehood.

So why would anyone want to be associated with the Democratic party. Law Professor Glenn Reynolds’ column for USA Today, today, was about “New Status Anxiety fuels Trump Derangement.”

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and Democrats and leftists still haven’t settled down. The campus safe spaces and cry-ins immediately after the votes were counted were bad enough. But the craziness is still going on.

Why are they so upset?  I think it’s because of status anxiety. Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

In Chicago,  a vicious hate crime has been whitewashed by the press. President Obama deplored the incident, but remarked that race relations had improved under his administration. Unfortunately, Obama has disagreed with the findings of Grand Juries in case after case, agreeing with the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” falsehood of events in Ferguson, and celebrated #Black Lives Matter, inviting the group to the White House, and confirming the racist nature of each of the events, which were rejected by Grand Juries who painstakingly investigated. Obama did suggest that Black children needed Black fathers in the home. The President seems to be a very good father himself,  But he didn’t follow through with the issue of black fathers, and the responsibility to be there for their kids as much as he might have.

Steven Malanga took on the subject back in July for an excellent article on the problem. Democrats have continued, at White House direction, to fling the epithet “Racism” around, repeating it over and over, even when there is not the slightest evidence. It is not surprising that recent studies show that Black Democrats believe that Donald Trump is racist, and that they will suffer under his presidency.  If Black Democrats were not encouraged to believe that Republicans are racist, they might not vote for the Democratic party. That’s the way it works.



Repealing ObamaCare, and The Problems Involved. by The Elephant's Child

medical_doctorsRepublicans are planning to repeal ObamaCare immediately.
They have a lot of good ideas about how to make a health care program more effective and less costly, like allowing health insurance to be sold across state borders. As it stands, each state has an insurance commissioner who approves or disapproves insurance policies for their particular state, so you get 50 different kinds of regulations.

An increase in competition always makes things cheaper and more efficient, because bad ideas get weeded out because they cannot compete. Freedom to solve problems and the promise of reward for solving them has resulted an an astonishing rise in the standard of living in the whole world.

All sorts of scholars have been working for 8 years to come up with better ideas for doing health insurance. The best idea, however, came from Thomas Sowell, and he stated it very simply:

If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs. in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government run medical system?

The federal government has no business putting a bunch of bureaucrats in charge of American’s healthcare. The federal government has demonstrated over and over that they do not know how to do healthcare, with the VA, with Medicare, with Medicaid, and with the Indian Health Service.We don’t need top-down central planning.

ObamaCare wanted national records of healthcare practices so at  they would have more knowledge about how to make healthcare more efficient.They ordered hospitals to computerize, get rid of the handwritten notes of patient encounters. Medical centers spent enormous sums of money buying computer systems for each office and examining room. The basic idea was totally wasted because the computer systems can’t talk to each other. They were all different setups.

Patients weren’t all that happy about their private health records being available to anybody who could log onto the system. It also meant that doctors were spending their time interacting with computers instead of patients. Doctors hired scribes to take notes on the computer while the doctor actually interacted with the patient. Think about how much all that added to the cost of doing healthcare.

I think it was Medicare that ordered their physicians to limit patient encounters to 7½ minutes. Great way to cut costs, except the encounters are with real human beings with very different reasons for going to the doctor. Stupid.

Bureaucrats decided that the place to cut costs was in what medical professionals were charging for their services. You’ve seen your insurance records, the medical establishment charged $150 for the encounter, the insurance company allowed $47, and you paid half that in your co-pay. So, quite naturally, a good many physicians will not see people on Medicaid, Medicare, or the Indian Health Service, and so far veterans are stuck with the VA. You’re left hunting for someone who will see you, and are they the less accomplished doctors?

Bureaucrats think all doctors are rich, and some of them are. However, they spent a long time studying to be able to get into medical school, after that studying for their specialty, and interning. Most have huge school loans to pay off, and their offices have medical assistants, lab technicians, receptionists, nurses, a respectable office with all sorts of equipment and several examining rooms with all sorts of equipment. Doctors have years and years of training compared to ordinary bureaucrats, and at some point they expect to reach a point where they can live fairly well. Bureaucrats see them as the part of medical care that can be slashed to save money.

It’s not the doctors that cannot be afforded, it’s the bureaucrats. The federal government needs to get out of the business of running health care. They don’t know how to do it, they are no good at it. Turn it over to private enterprise, to find ways to provide care that the country can afford. The Left does not believe in private enterprise, they think competition is a bad thing, they believe that they are the smartest and most able people around, and they cannot understand why a heart surgeon should make more money than they do.

Consider the outcry against Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to HUD because he had no experience in government. That’s a revealing, and typical, Leftist response.

Here’s a post from 2012 about the Oklahoma Surgical Center which would seem to suggest that there are real possibilities out there. I have not followed up to see if it is still as successful.

I am afraid that Republicans in Congress will just devise another government-run program that will have some better ideas, will not solve the problem of escalating costs, and when the Democrats return to power, as they will at some point in the distant future, we’ll do it all over.

Republicans believe in private enterprise, and freedom. When people are free and encouraged to find better ways and rewarded for so doing, miracles happen every day. How did you think Dr, Leonard McCoy got those amazing instruments that he used on the Enterprise?



About That “Smooth Presidential Transition”… by The Elephant's Child

To quote Andrew Malcolm:

Since Obama vowed to run a smooth presidential transition, what’s the real point of picking a tardy diplomatic scuffle with Putin? What’s the real point of setting Israel (and the annoying Netanyahu) adrift at the United Nations now?

Why issue all these offshore drilling bans and new federal regulations? Why commute more federal prison sentences than a dozen past presidents combined? Why keep releasing Guantanamo terrorists when so many return to their homicidal careers?

Might it be to plant political IEDs for his annoying successor, as Democrats seek to restore their party? For the first time in nearly a century a former president decided to reside in Washington. Obama has rented a mansion and office space where he’ll be easily accessible to media friends for, say, kibitzing his successor – unlike Obama’s predecessor, who went silent for more than a year.

•”California state lawmakers (Democratic operatives) have hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file lawsuits against the Trump administration to hold it in check, much in the same way Republican attorneys general did to President Obama.”

•”The latest numbers from the U.S. Treasury say that United State’s federal debt has risen by a trillion dollars in President Obama’s final year in office, while Republican controlled both the House and Senate.

The debt at the end of 2016 was $19,976,826,951,047.80, a one-year increase of $1,054,647,941,626.91.”

•”Taxpayers footed the bill for $96 million in mostly personal travel expenses for President Obama and his family over the eight years Obama has occupied the White House, according to a new report from Judicial Watch announced Thursday.

The president’s high-priced trips included the family’s annual vacation to Hawaii, which cost an estimated $3.5 million in flight expenses alone, a $222,000 ski trip to Aspen for Michelle Obama and her daughters, and $450,000 in flight expenses for the family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, the Washington Examiner reported.”

•”President Obama’s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.

While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.”

• “Economy-Crippling Executive Actions: With less than a month left in his presidency, Obama has launched an initiative to wipe out coal mining and handicap offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.First, he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with its controversial Stream Protection Rule. By one estimate, that would make mining so difficult it would make 85 percent of the nation’s coal reserves unrecoverable.

Then, on Tuesday, the president designated most government-owned areas in the Arctic Ocean and a large swath off the Atlantic Coast closed to drilling. That would prevent production of huge reserves of oil and gas.”

• “Record Wave of Pardons and Commutations: President Obama on Monday pardoned 78 people and granted another 153 commutations, amounting to the most acts of clemency granted by a U.S. president ever in a single day.”

•”Ramped-up Refugee Resettlements:President Barack Obama is speeding up the “refugee” resettlement process before he turns over the White House keys to his successor, President-elect Donald Trump – in an effort to boost the numbers so high that it is now projected that they will exceed his target of 110,000 for this fiscal year by nearly 600.

According to the Refugee Processing Center, the Obama administration has already welcomed 23,248 individuals to the United States as “refugees” through the first 11 weeks of the 2017 fiscal year – almost doubling the 13,786 who were accepted for the same period in 2016.”

• “Adding a final shameful chapter to a foreign-policy record that already runneth over with them, Barack Obama on Friday abandoned America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and to the vindication of democracy over sharia-supremacist aggression. In an act of cowardly venom, the president had the United States abstain from — and thereby effectively enact — a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity. At least, that’s what the resolution ostensibly does. The reality is much more than that. The resolution undertakes to render our ally indefensible.”




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