American Elephants

Former President Obama Simply Can’t Let Go! by The Elephant's Child

I’m still playing around with the “power” theme. That’s what it’s all about now, is it not? The millionaire football players kneeling at the national anthem, the pay gap for women, the claims of racism and white supremacy, the claim that the president said “hellhole” in more scatological terms and should therefore be censured by Congress. What if what he actually said was “hellhole”? Apparently no one but Illinois Senator Dick Durbin actually heard him say the ‘s’ version. It is all about Donald Trump winning the election and putting the Democrats out of power at all levels.

I wrote back on the first of January about former President Obama’s reluctance refusal to return to civilian life, as president’s do when their term of office is done. He is apparently the first, ever, to refuse to do so. Jimmy Carter insisted on commenting frequently, but Obama is doing something quite different, and unprecedented.  It must be a bit galling to find your successor cancelling your misguided programs and having the economy take off as a result. Democrats are insisting that the economy is acting in response to Obama’s efforts, but the people who make the economy go have no hesitation in telling what they are responding to.

Here’s Politico: Since leaving office, Barack Obama has struggled with how to do what no modern president has: take on his successor.

Obama and Eric Holder are fully engaged in the effort to challenge every GOP redistricting effort in court to claim they were (of course) racist and therefore illegal. You have surely noticed the extreme reappearance of charges of racism. It is not due to any evidence of racism, but of the “Black Lives Matter” protest group, which is also orchestrated. Every business in the country is eager to hire minorities, if only to prove that they are not discriminating. Unemployment claims for Blacks are the lowest in recorded history, and Black employment is at all time highs.So that’s not what this is about, it’s about power—having it and losing it.

Do read the whole Politico article. It’s a glimpse into the Leftist view. I wish it was about how to fix things, and get our huge deficit under control, but of course, it is not. It’s just about power.


Only in The People’s Republic of Seattle by The Elephant's Child

The City of Seattle claims to wish to protect you from the ravages of sugar on your body and well being. They will protect you by discouraging you from purchasing sweetened beverages with a new tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on all sweetened beverages sold in the city. (They do not care about your body fat, your rotting teeth or your potential diabetes. They want the money for their own nefarious purposes) It took effect Monday, on the first  day of the  year.

The prices at an area Costco showed that the tax increases the price of Gatorade by 65 percent and Dr. Pepper by 75 percent. To explain the cost increase, the discount chain posted an explanation of the steep price increase.

(h/t: Jon Gabriel) @ricochet

Here’s Why President Trump Was Right About Draining the Swamp. by The Elephant's Child

Following up on Kim Strassel’s impassioned call for a “root and branch overhaul of government itself— Operation Drain the Swamp:”the Wall Street Journal Reports that:

The House Intelligence Committee has set a deadline of Wednesday for the Department of Justice and FBI to turn over documents related to the Christopher Steele dossier purporting to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. If they fail to comply, Speaker Paul Ryan will need to back up Congress’s institutional prerogatives and hold the individuals responsible to contempt proceedings and possible impeachment.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray have had the subpoenas since Aug. 24, but they have responded with excuses, delays and misdirection. The Justice Department has refused to provide Congress with the most basic documents demanded under the subpoenas. These include reports detailing the FBI’s interactions with sources such as Mr. Steele, who was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was funded by associates of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Justice also refuses to make available crucial witnesses, including FBI agent Peter Strzok (a lead investigator in the Trump-Russia probe), former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr (whose wife worked for Fusion GPS) and FBI attorney James Baker (former FBI Director Jim Comey’s right-hand man). Justice is also still sitting on months of anti-Trump text messages between Mr. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

As the Journal’s Editorial Board says: “This isn’t acceptable.” They have offered no valid reason for their resistance. Congress has the constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch whose offices it funds. Secretary Sessions offered the excuse such a request interferes with a Justice Department Inspector General probe, but that won’t work.

This is not going to be pretty. Too many offices of government have been flush with funds and empowered with new regulations to enforce. Remember all the talk about government offices arming themselves? Remember the EPA thugs going after innocent landowners for bogus environmental crimes? And because they don’t get to have that kind of fun anymore with Scott Pruitt in charge, they’re resigning in droves from the EPA. No more yellow rivers. No more blaming  the climate for spurious cases of childhood asthma. Maybe even pointing out that forest fires and hurricanes are not caused by climate. But it appears that other departments are similarly infected.

Susan Rice and Samantha Power have chimed in, saying that the executive branch really should not be talking about Iran. They should be utterly quiet and allow events to play out as they will. Certainly the present despicable occupant of the oval office should not be encouraging Iranians who are demonstrating. Someone might get hurt! We are faced with an old administration that is not going to go away.

The problems with sanctuary cities and ICE are obvious and will have to be dealt with in the courts. Secretary Ryan Zinke is cleaning up at Interior, not only cutting back on the Obama Administration’s massive land grab in Utah, but removing unnecessary regulations that are a complicated burden for energy producers. He’s also fired four senior managers for inappropriate conduct including sexual harassment. The Department of Agriculture under Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking for solutions to the Food Stamp program. There’s a lot of fraud in the program, and most people believe there should be some kind of work requirement for those who are perfectly able to work.

Secretary of State Tillerson has his work cut out for him. He has vast experience as head of a giant corporation, but the U.S. State Department is deeply involved in partisan politics. Betsy DeVos has her plate full at Education. The huge teachers union is determined not to lose power and her support for charter schools is anethma to the union. Many blacks have been convinced that charter schools are bad for blacks instead of the avenue for success that they are. Mindsets have to be changed. Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor and the first Latino Member of the Cabinet was confirmed in April, and Bill Moyers screeched that the Trump Administration’s plans to decimate workers’ rights begins in earnest. Acosta has attacked occupational license law, like the silly insistence that hair braiders go to beauty school, as one of our worst job killers, so he has his work cut out. So far, the other members of the Cabinet are quietly solving their problems and have escaped the full fury of “the resistance.”

The New York Times has published a full list of President Trump’s cabinet, which they updated last May, and only got a couple completely wrong. General John Kelly has moved from Secretary of Homeland Security, where he was confirmed, to White House Chief of Staff. Kirstjen Nielsen replaced him as Secretary of Homeland Security and was confirmed in early December. But that’s better than the list at Wikipedia which hasn’t been updated in months.

The New York Times, full of their own importance, added that President Trump’s cabinet is more white and male than any cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s. Dear New York Times: skin color and gender have nothing whatsoever to do with how a cabinet official performs the duties asked of him or her. The obvious fact that you never learned that is telling. They have pictures of each official, which is helpful.

Following that are eight cabinet level offices that are not official members of the cabinet. CIA, UN, EPA, Small Business, O.M.B., DNI, Trade Representative, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Stop reading at that point. What follows is mostly wrong anyway. They follow that with a list of the Cabinet, explaining how each member is very bad, no good, and set on destroying all of Obama’s marvelous accomplishment. Read only if you want to understand the Leftist worldview. You would think that the once-renowned newspaper would keep lists like this updated to demonstrate how on top of things they are, unfortunately it does demonstrate how on top of things they are.

When it’s Over, It’s Really Over. by The Elephant's Child

In the American political system, the President gets to hold office for either 4 years or 8, and when he or she is done, when a new president is elected, the previous president returns to civilian life. They are no longer a leader, no longer an official, just another past president, and once more a private citizen. Obama seems to be having a hard time accepting that, as do some of the people from his administration. No more titles. No more limelight. You had your turn and it is over.

George W. Bush was most gracious. He worked at rehabilitation for members of the military who were wounded during his administration. He paid honor to them with his paintings. He carefully did not interfere with Barack Obama’s turn. Obama knows that, but doesn’t seem to understand that it is an example for him as well.

The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution limits the number of times one can be elected to the office of President of the United States. Congress proposed the amendment by two-thirds of both the House and Senate on March 21, 1947. Ratification by the requisite 36 of the then-48 states was completed on February 27, 1951.

Mr. Obama is having a hard time being a private citizen. He was following President Trump in his visits to foreign leaders for a while, turning up for a visit right after Trump’s. Tacky.  It must be hard seeing your successor undo many of your presumed accomplishments, and even worse—see the economy respond in such vigorous approval. Is he hoping for a coup?

But that’s how it works. Americans were so thrilled when George Washington’s army defeated the British and sent them packing, that some wanted General Washington to become an emperor or a king, but Washington would have none of it. That was a most important step in the American presidency, and was recognized as such by other nations. The founders worked carefully to make sure that they were defining the presidency correctly to prevent future emperors or kings.

In many ways, the presidency is something of a thankless job. Things you wanted to do didn’t get done or there was deep resistance, or you were outvoted. You don’t get do-overs, and you don’t get to decide how the historians will think of you, no matter how glorious your presidential library turns out to be. You get to keep the honorific titles as a courtesy. Losing candidates also have a hard time accepting reality. Works better if you understand from the beginning the limits of the office. We probably tell our presidents too often that they are the most important man in the world. They are, but only briefly, then it’s over.

Unleashing the Power of American Freedom and Innovation by The Elephant's Child

It wasn’t that long ago that Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) were moaning about how businesses were hoarding cash and buying back stock instead of investing. The talking points were all about “Corporate Greed.” Bernie Sanders was all about “trickle-down economics,” a dumb slur that goes back to 1981 and the Reagan Revolution that lowered taxes for everyone, but particularly for corporations that, like today’s, were the highest in the world, and real brakes on the economy. Reagan lowered corporate taxes dramatically and set off a 20 year boom.

Democrats are sure that corporations are evil entities that prey on the people by trying to make a profit. If they weren’t so greedy, then everything would be more affordable, and the people would be happier. If you can’t make a Democrat understand that if corporations do not make a profit, they cease to exist—you’re not going to make much headway with the Trump Revolution.

Once again, American corporate taxes are the highest in the world, and it really harms their ability to compete. Add to that the over-regulation of the Obama administration, and you have the explanation for why the Trump tax cuts and reversal of unneeded regulation has corporations poised to expand and invest with a vengeance. AT&T will increase its U.S, investments next year by $1 billion, pay a $1,000 bonus to some 200,000 employees. Comcast, explicitly citing tax reform and the FCC decision to end net-neutrality, pledged a $1,000 bonus to about 100,000 employees and vowed to invest “well in excess” of $50 billion over five years.

Boeing said the new law “boosts Boeing’s competitiveness” and will move up an additional $300 million of investments, dedicating $100 million to corporate giving; $100 million for worker development; and $100 million to enhance the company’s facilities.

Why are corporations giving bonuses or raising pay levels? Because we are already reaching very low levels of unemployment as business expands, and they will need to compete for good employees by offering incentives. Democrats assume that an incentive is when the wise people in government tell corporations what extra they must do for their customers, like Obama’s requirement that Pizza parlors list all of their ingredients on a visible sign with the calorie count for each. (um, people who are counting calories don’t buy pizza).

Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp said they would increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Fifth Third is throwing in a $1,000 bonus for hourly workers. Nexus Services is giving a 5% pay raise to its employees and hiring 200 more.

Democrats remain sure that it’s all about tax cuts for the rich, and have been shrieking that for months, and the negative media spin has indeed resulted in poor opinion poll numbers. People have been told over and over that they tax cuts only go to rich people and everybody else will suffer. Yet well over 80% of the people will receive a cut in their taxes.

Europe is worried. The tax reform passed in Washington this week is a challenge to Europe’s big taxers. This opens a new competitive war with Europe’s high-taxing governments. The bill cuts the top federal corporate rate to 21% from 35% which brings down the average effective rate including state and local taxes down to about 23% from around 29%. This also creates incentives for European companies to invest in America. German executives will wonder why they should build their next factory in Germany with a 31% effective corporate rate + more troublesome labor regulations and an aging population. This is a big shock to the European system.

Republicans don’t do a good job of explaining what tax cuts mean and why they work, but assume that other Republicans will understand and celebrate. I believe that most people could not tell you how much they paid in taxes last year— without looking it up. They have their taxes withheld, and pay no attention to the pay slip, and just turn the whole thing over to their tax guy and put it away in a file. Who wants to think about taxes? When the government takes less, America is set free to innovate, create and grow.

How Do You Define Wretched Excess? Behold Nancy Pelosi: by The Elephant's Child

“Today, we gather on this floor in the midst of a holy season. In this season we celebrate the miraculous blessings of God. We reflect on the wondrous joy of children and our responsibility to them. We remember our duty to live justly. And for those of us blessed to serve in this Congress, we must remember our special responsibility to govern fairly, to meet the needs of all of God’s children. In this holy time, the moral obscenity and unrepentant greed of the GOP tax scam stands out even more clearly….

This GOP tax scam is simply theft, monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class and from every person who aspires to reach it. the GOP tax scam is not a vote for an investment in growth or jobs. It is a vote to install a permanent plutocracy in our nation. They’ll be cheering that later. It does violence to the vision of our Founders. It disrespects the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, who are a large part of our middle class and to whom we owe a future worthy of their sacrifice. And it betrays the future and betrays the aspirations of our children. It demands, it morally demands a no vote from every member of this house of the people.”

Her plea did not work. These might be some of the reasons why:

  • The Unemployment rate for Latinos is the lowest ever in the history of government tracking.
  • The Black Unemployment rate has hit a 17-year low.
  • Third Quarter growth was 3.3 percent (in spite of two hurricanes) and the 4th quarter is projected to hit the magic number of 4 percent.
  • A majority of Americans see our economy as “good” or “excellent.” 41 percent believe 2018 will be even better and 43 percent believe their wages will increase.
  • The unemployment rate has hit a 17 year low at just 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000.
  • So far in 2017, a full 171,000 manufacturing jobs have been created. The manufacturing unemployment rate is just 2.6 percent, the lowest ever recorded.

P.S. Our men and women in uniform just got a long overdue raise.

If you have trouble understanding, see “Explaining the Trump Derangement Syndrome” just below.


Democrats Called for a Big Protest Against the Tax Bill, But No One Came! by The Elephant's Child

What if they planned a big protest against the tax bill, and no one came? Democrats have been all but shrieking “tax cuts for the rich” for weeks and weeks, and they planned a protest in a Capitol Hill conference room, expecting lots of activists to show up. Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to address the demonstration, but only a couple of dozen folks showed up, and to spare Minority Leader Pelosi the pain of speaking to an almost empty room they called the whole thing off.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s big black headline:”How the GOP produced the worst bill sine the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850,” and the New Yorker shrieked “THE FINAL VERSION OF THE G.O.P. TAX BILL IS A CORRUPT, CRUEL, BUDGET-BUSTING HAIRBALL.” The Washington Post was dismayed that it’s barrage of negative Tax Bill articles isn’t working. (Democrats have problems with percentages) If you give somebody who makes $500,000 a year a 10% tax cut, and somebody who makes $50,000 a year the same 10% tax cut, the rich guy’s cut will be bigger and he will still have more money left than the ordinary joe. But the rich guy is still paying way more taxes.

The Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column (from the lefty side of the paper, not the Opinion pages – which lean right) said:

There were several surprises for investors when Republicans unveiled their final tax bill Friday, but the most significant is that they add up to a bigger boost to economic growth next year. …

The tax plan was always expected to juice the economy, but the Senate version, which passed after the House approved its bill, had relatively modest short-term stimulus. While the stock market kept rising in anticipation of a cut, the bond market hardly budged. The bill unveiled Friday front-loaded more than $200 billion in stimulus for next year. Economists had been penciling in a boost of about a third of a percentage point next year. Now that is looking way low.

There are several big changes in the final bill. The cut in the corporate tax rate to 21% happens right away; the Senate bill had put it off until 2019. It lowers the top rate on individuals to 37%—lower than either the House and Senate plans. It also pushes individual rates down for most other people and increases the child tax credit, which are important because middle-class households are more likely to spend extra income than the rich.

And here’s the Left-leaning tax policy center  (scroll down) which finds that 80.4% of Americans would see a tax cut in 2018. The average decrease would be $2,140. Only 4.8% would see a tax increase. Trump’s record of accomplishment is garnering praise from even some reluctant never trumpers. The tax cut is big. $1,5 trillion over 10 years, a lower corporate rate, from 35% to 21%, and they will only be taxed on their earnings in the U.S.. (sorry, Dems, corporations don’t really pay taxes, they just pass it on to you). Pulling out of the Paris accords was an excellent move, approving the Keystone pipeline, cutting back dramatically on needless regulation that gets in the way of business.

Democrats firmly believe in the efficacy of government, and that the wise people in government can make everything better by telling everyone what to do. Uh huh.


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