American Elephants

Quotation of the Day: How Times Have Changed! by The Elephant's Child

trumanpicBOnce a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

–Harry S. Truman, Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, 8 August 1950
(h/t: The Global Warming Policy Forum)

Nearly 500 Hospitals Have Misbehaved, Or Have They? by The Elephant's Child

hospHospitals in 43 states will pay a combined $250 million in fines to settle charges that they violated Medicare requirements when implanting cardiac devices in patients.

The heavy hand of government descended on 457 hospitals accused of implanting cardioverter defibrillators in patients between 2003 and 2010 before Medicare coverage allowed. It seems that Medicare will cover the devices, which cost around $25,000, but only if doctors wait the recommended 40 days after a patient has had a heart attack and 90 days after a patient has had bypass surgery to do the implant. The waiting periods are designed by some bureaucrat to “give the heart an opportunity to improve function on its own to the point that the defibrillator may not be necessary.”

The DOJ said most of the hospitals were named in a lawsuit brought on by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of any settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant.

The lawsuits were filed by a cardiac nurse and a health care reimbursement consultant in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The DOJ said the whistleblowers received more than $38 million from the settlements.

This may be all on the up and up. Over-cautious doctors disobeying the ordered 40 day wait time and costing Medicare money. The doctors motives for squandering Medicare money? The whistleblowers motives to go for $38 million? Did all or any of the patients survive? Don’t know.

Where are the whistleblowers who get big rewards from stopping, say, the EPA from wasting taxpayer money? With 457 different hospitals, the whistleblowers had no chance to observe incorrect wait times. Perhaps the doctor’s judgement is different?  I make no accusations. I just find it all odd, and sadly, I trust Doctors much more than I trust Medicare bureaucrats.


The Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America by The Elephant's Child

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”


July 4, 2012, Phoenix, Arizona
About 250 new Americans take the oath of citizenship

In July, 2015, President Barack Obama stripped out the requirement for individuals becoming naturalized citizens to defend the United States through military service. On September 16. 2015 President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they didn’t need to assimilate.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

There’s another new turn of phrase designed to hide or soften what he is doing. “Nine million resident migrants” — think about that for a moment. We wouldn’t want you to get all serious about an oath, or make you uncomfortable. There’s one graduate of Harvard Law School who apparently never really learned anything about the Constitution at all.

Human beings are tribal. It’s an instinct that comes down to us from the first humans, and it’s never completely gone away. Most of the nations of Europe are tribal. That’s why the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia. I don’t think you can become a German unless you have German ancestry, but I’m not sure about that. The countries of Europe each have their own languages and customs. The Middle East is divided between Sunni and Shia, with a large number of other tribes thrown in. And it seems to be human nature for the tribes to fight each other, over things serious or not so much.

We join big organizations, tea parties, bridge clubs, Rotary, Job’s Daughters, join a golf club, work for the Salvation Army or Food for the Poor, or just the Thursday night poker club. We form neighborhood clubs, research our ancestry, or join a gym. We are tribal by nature. We are drawn to people who share our interests or heritage, enthusiasm for quilting, or political leanings.

Americans came from all over, but what has bound them together was the formal oath of citizenship renouncing all other allegiance. You raise your hand and your solemnly swear, and you become an American —just as much as the immigrant whose ancestors came on the Mayflower or with the Winthrop fleet.

What Mr. Obama doesn’t get is that Americans are a tribe, we have a proud identity. Many Europeans say that you can identify an American in Europe by the way they walk—heads up, more confident. Does any other country celebrate their founding day with the hoopla and fireworks that we do?

The full-throated “USA, USA, USA” may be annoying, but it’s heartfelt. Howard Zinn may corrupt the young with his soviet-propagandized attempt at revising our history. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright may bellow “God Damn America “to the future president and his family, but there’s a reason why Stalin’s daughter, Khrushchev’s son, and one of Castro’s daughters all became American citizens. Russian oligarch’s moor their yachts in New York harbor just in time to get their newborn child American citizenship, and wealthy Chinese just happen to be visiting the country when the baby is due.  Mexican women wade the Rio Grande to bear their children in the United States. Why do you suppose they do that?

A small bunch of English religious refugees seeking liberty undertook a dangerous Atlantic crossing to an unknown land. Joined by other discontented Europeans, before long they were pushing back against English taxes, English regulations and English regiments. After sending the British back home, and writing a constitution, Americans pushed on across the Appalachians, facing angry Indians, bears and starvation. First in bateaus, then on horseback and in covered wagons, they crossed the Rockies and conquered a continent, fought a bloody civil war to free the slaves.  World Wars, John Wayne, the Super Bowl, Star Wars, the Marshall Plan, GI Joe, Baseball, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Grand Canyon, — so many things go into the making of an American, including complaining about the government. But here, it’s your right to complain. In Stalin’s Russia — off to the Gulag. In today’s Syria, we don”t even want to think about that.

Don’t be messing with the Oath Of Allegiance, Mr. President. We know that you are out to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” but if we had realized what you really meant by that, you’d be back in your house in Chicago and someone else entirely would be our president. You go too far.

“We Are Not Manufacturing Anything Anymore” And Other Fables of the Left. by The Elephant's Child

A common complaint bandied about is that we are not manufacturing anything any more, and there are no manufacturing jobs. But we should always check on ‘common complaints’ to see if they are actually true. The reality is a bit different. America is manufacturing more than ever. Mark J. Perry is the proprietor of the Carpe Diem blog at AEI, and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.

America is a very big and prosperous country — even in the slowest recovery since 1945. Obama liked to call it the worst recession since the Great Depression (blamed entirely on Bush) and he’s been talking up his recovery ever since, which has been the slowest since 1945. Obama clearly wants America to be a smaller influence in the world (stop being a bully) perhaps turn us into a gentle giant? An odd ambition for an America president. But during campaign season a frequent claim is that we don’t manufacture anything anymore.  Not so.

Our manufacturing workers are more productive than ever before. Europeans worry more about vacation time and time off. Americans for the most part expect and like to be productive, and consider that to be the way to get ahead. They hate union rules which mean that you have to wait for someone from another union to replace the lightbulb, and support right-to-work laws.

The real recession was short, ending in June 2009 — it’s the recovery that has been problematic. Keynesian economics doesn’t work. Neither does adding on hundreds of new regulations, new restrictions, higher corporate taxes, and ObamaCare.

We are manufacturing more stuff, making more profit, and increasing productivity per worker— with fewer people. Jobs that are simple and repetitive are being replaced by robots. Manufacturing output has increased more than five-fold over the last 67 years — from $410 billion in 1947 to a record-setting level last year of $2.09 trillion. The number of manufacturing employees has steadily declined to a low in 2010 of 11.6 million workers to rebounding slightly to more than 12 million last year. Remember that the jobs replaced by robots were mostly those that the worker hated. Doing exactly the same thing every 8 hours can get poisonously boring, and building robots would be way more interesting.

The ability of the U.S manufacturing sector to produce increasing amounts of output with fewer workers is a sign of economic strength and vitality. Disruptive for displaced workers, of course — but it only happens because of new inventions and new processes with more opportunity involved. Automation is here to stay, and results in lower prices and a healthier economy. Robots don’t get hurt, have pensions, make mistakes or take vacations, and they don’t join unions.

The clever engineers who devise robots will devise more machines, which will also have to be manufactured. But manufacturing isn’t really the romantic idea of “working with your hands” anymore either. For that scroll down to the clever parody of “Artisanal Firewood

Donald Trump was grumbling the other day about having to buy televisions manufactured in South Korea and wondering why the US would defend a nation that sells such reasonably priced products. “I don’t think anybody makes television sets in the United States anymore. We don’t make anything anymore.” Let’s cut the talk about “bringing jobs back.” Bad idea.

Four Years of FOIA Requests, Four Years of Benghazi Hearings by The Elephant's Child


The WordPress wayback machine reminded me of three posts about Benghazi: From December 19, 2012 concerning the Accountability Review Board study of the Benghazi affair. “The Report on Benghazi Came In, All Over, Nothing to See Here, Just Move Along

May 8, 2012: “The Benghazi Hearings. It Matters a Lot

May 18, 2013: Spin, Spin, Spin

Not just a reminder of how long Congress has been trying to find out why four Americans were killed in Benghazi, but why the administration lied to the American people about it, and why they have tried so hard to cover up. “Most transparent administration in history” indeed!

Perhaps you have noticed that the Republicans in Congress are arguing about their goals and what they can accomplish in the face of an administration that is firmly set against their accomplishing anything. This is portrayed by the media as ‘chaos’ and ‘weakness’ and ‘disorganization’ but it is not any such thing. It’s the way things are supposed to work.

When the Founders were first setting up a new, independent, country they were determined to set us free from an over-controlling government. They sought power, not for themselves, but for the American people. All kinds of battles have been fought over the centuries by people trying to win some privilege from their government. The Founders skipped all that and gave the government to the people.

That was and remains the most daring act in the history of government, and it makes all the difference. They did everything they could think of to slow government down, to provide for fighting and disagreement over what laws to pass. We are supposed to argue and fight, and discuss and eventually reach a satisfactory compromise.

Progressives, the certified smart people, have never really understood that. They basically believe that they should be running things, that the American people are stupid or they would be supporting the right of Progressives to rule. That’s why they march in lockstep, use the same words to describe their ideas, promise to give the people extravagant gifts like free college tuition, free healthcare (that’s working out well), equality for all, and let the rich pay for everything. Trouble is that all the billions of the billionaires is not enough. Or as Margaret Thatcher famously remarked “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

That’s why Progressives hate free speech, want to confiscate your guns, nationalize education, eliminate state’s rights, and eliminate the Republican Party which has the gall to oppose their ideas. That’s why they can’t win elections without vote fraud, why they import illegal aliens to skew population numbers, register them to vote, convince minorities that voter ID is a Republican trick to keep them from voting. And now, why they want to release large numbers of criminals from prison. It’s the Fox Butterfield Fallacy.

Progressives do not play fair, though they talk about “fairness” a lot. They are zealots on a grand mission, they are going to legislate social justice and social equality. They believe that if they can accumulate enough money and enough power, they can make the glorious future work. That it has been tried many times before and failed doesn’t phase them, for when they do it it will be different. I don’t think your ordinary run-of-the-mill Democrats are actually aware of all that. They know that the  Democrat Party cares about them, and Republicans are mean, which is presently proved by their partisan attack on Hillary.

Daniel Hannan On The Miracle of the Marketplace by The Elephant's Child

Why private property matters, and how nations develop. In some parts of the world they have never developed those simple ideas, which is why poverty remains so endemic. If you have no title to your property, nor law that defends your rights, you cannot borrow against that value to start even a small business.

The Top Ten Ways Liberalism Makes America Worse by The Elephant's Child


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