American Elephants

Petulant President Vetoes Pipeline, Promises Permits to Illegals by The Elephant's Child

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CNS News that already in this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people who have come across the border with Mexico, apprehended and  unauthorized.

In fiscal year 2014, U.S. immigration officials removed 213,719 individuals who were caught while attempting to enter the  United States unlawfully. Texas already has some 800,000 illegal aliens living in their state.

Abbott has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 26 states challenging Mr. Obama’s decision to go around Congress by unilaterally giving millions of illegal immigrants permission to stay in the US. and to give them Social Security numbers, and work permits.

A federal judge has put President Obama’s amnesty plan on hold, and Abbott said he expects the case to continue through the court process all the way to the Supreme Court. Abbott added that the president has violated the rule of law and is actually making up the law himself and imposing his own standards in immigration.

Government data , as of December 2014, show 9.3 million new jobs have been added since January 2000. In the same time period, data show 18 million new immigrants (legal and illegal). So for every new job, there have been two new immigrants. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says:

Government data  reveal that more than 7.4 million work permits (formally known as Employment Authorization Documents) were issued to aliens from 2009 to 2014. Because neither lawful permanent residents (green card holders) nor temporary work visa holders need a work permit, this amounts to a huge parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the numerical limits and categories set by Congress. The huge number of work permits being issued above and beyond these limits inevitably reduces opportunities for U.S. workers, damages the integrity of the immigration system, and encourages illegal immigration.

Obama has been talking about the improving economy and all the new jobs, without including the downside of the long-term unemployed, nor the jobs lost or turned part-time. You get better numbers if you just talk jobs created, and forget to subtract the jobs lost—a regular Obama trick.

He also does not include all the work permits he has granted to illegals. Nor will he count the potential jobs that were included with the Keystone XL pipeline bill that he vetoed today. In every way, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a boon to the American economy. His veto has nothing to do with the merits of the project.

The application to build the pipeline was filed more than 2,300 days ago. It has been approved by the Clinton State Department, and the Kerry State Department, and Obama’s excuses are getting more and more embarrassing. He claims the bill would “cut short” the process for approving the project — over 6 years and climbing. It’s purely political. (Tom Steyer’s money) Keystone has passed every environmental test, and the recent derailment of an oil tanker train has demonstrated, once again, that pipelines are safer than the alternative.

According to TransCanada, the pipeline means at least 20,000 new high-paying jobs. They are only temporary, sneers Obama. All construction jobs are temporary until the construction is complete then the workers take their newly learned skills on to the next job. And by the way, the Keystone pipeline IS infrastructure. Besides the 20,000 construction jobs in pipeline construction and material production, the State Department projects 42,000 jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy.

This is just Obama being childish and petulant. Remember that when he starts telling you about all the new jobs, or the improving economy. Any improvement has not come from Obama initiatives, but by going around the president. The economy keeps trying to break out, but this president keeps standing directly in the way.

Thomas Sowell PhD, on Uncommon Knowledge: Common Sense and Clarity. by The Elephant's Child

Tom Sowell has a marvelous skill in bringing economics down to the personal human world, or what you might call the common sense end of things. Peter Robinson is a marvelous host and asks great questions. This is one of the best of the Uncommon Knowledge interviews ever. Make time for it when you can.

Once Cubans Get a Taste of Prosperity? How Does That Work? by The Elephant's Child

President Raúl Castro, Fidel’s little brother, declared victory for the Cuban Revolution in a televised speech before Parliament and a group of favored guests —including Elián Gonzales (remember him?) — reaffirming that any restored relations with the United States did not mean any change in Communist rule in Cuba. He added “We won the war.”

Obama didn’t check in with any of the Cuban community here or with the Cubans who are fighting for freedom in Cuba. They are pretty unanimous in saying that the way Obama has gone about this is a major mistake. The Ladies in White who march in support of political prisoners each week in a major display of courage, said “betrayal” and didn’t understand why Obama had gone back on his statement that “significant steps toward democracy” must precede any liberalization.

As usual, Obama does not learn from history. Engagement does not necessarily promote freedom — see China, Vietnam, and increasingly less freedom in those countries.

In an official announcement in the state newspaper Gramma. government officials announced a system in which employees of corporations with foreign capital will be paid two Cuban Pesos for every Convertible Cuban Peso (CUP) which are used exclusively for tourists and is the equivalent of an American dollar and 26.5 Cuban Pesos. The 24 Cuban Pesos that workers will NOT receive amount to 92% of their salaries. So 92% of the value of Cubans’ work will go to prop up the Communist state. How that is supposed to be an important entry in the history books for Mr. Obama is not clear.

Cuba’s major benefactors —Russia and Venezuela — are in deep trouble from the declining price of oil. The current price is far below their ‘break-even’ point. Some Conservatives welcome the change in policy, believing that free trade will make great changes in Cuba. Raúl Castro doesn’t think so. “Once they see better goods and services” they say, but at roughly 67¢ a day in income Cubans cannot buy “better goods.” I don’t know what they have to trade. Reportedly, even their cigars aren’t that good any more.

Will Cuba suddenly allow their people to travel to the U.S.? Not likely. Any visitors to the U.S would be likely to seek asylum. The Cuban Adjustment Act says that any Cuban who is granted parole into the U.S. may, after one year apply for adjustment to permanent resident status. In the past every Cuban who made it here got parole and a green card.

I firmly believe in free markets and free people — but the “free” part seems to be completely missing here.

A Federal District Court Judge Ruled Executive Amnesty Unconstitutional. by The Elephant's Child

A federal district court judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that portions of President Obama’s executive amnesty are unconstitutional. Judge Arthur Schwab said in his opinion that the presidential policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” and into the realm of legislating. Because of this, Judge Schwab wrote, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

This is the first case to address Obama’s “decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully in the United States.” This particular case involved an individual who was deported and then returned to the United States unlawfully. The court, in considering how to sentence the defendant, sought direction on how the new policies  affected this particular defendant who was seeking the deferral of his deportation. It is not clear if the constitutional question  needed to be addressed in this case. It is unusual for a district court to reach this sort of constitutional  issue in this sort of case.

Jonathan Adler, who wrote this piece for the Washington Post, pointed out that in this case, no one was raising the question of constitutionality, so Judge Schwab’s opinion is more of an advisory, and leaves the defendant free to change his plea and reapply under the new rules. He declared the president’s action to be unlawful, but he did not set it aside.

Three other legal challenges to Obama’s executive actions are waiting trial dates, including the suit filed by 24 states. Adler is unsure if that case will satisfy the requirements of Article III standing to bring their claims. Yet even if the states don’t have standing, the legality of the president’s actions could be decided in Federal court.  Adler says “if Congress is unhappy with the degree of discretion the executive branch enjoys over immigration  policy, Congress needs to revise existing immigration laws to constrain executive authority.”

A Cynical Speech, Breathtaking in Its Arrogance and Hypocrisy by The Elephant's Child

It is often assumed that occupants of the Oval Office live in a bit of a bubble, isolated from the American people, and consequently out-of-touch. With President Obama, it goes deeper. He lives in a fantasy world, transforming events into something more comfortable to live with. Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in carefully prepared remarks that “President Obama wears being called ‘an Emperor’ as a badge of honor.” So he does notice a little of what is going on out in the world.


This one came from Jon Gabriel, editor at Ricochet. The cherub at the bottom is undoubtedly an anchor baby.

One of Obama’s first acts in office was to stop construction of the fence at the border. It was Obama who instructed the border patrol and ICE to stop deporting people, to pull back from the border, and whose efforts in Central American countries insinuated that children who crossed the border would not be deported, and caused the vast influx of illegal aliens. It was Obama who sent the “unaccompanied minors” all over the country and enrolled them in local schools who were completely unprepared for such an influx of young people requiring special services at vast cost.

When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Uh huh. That’s why members of ICE are suing the government for not allowing them to do the jobs they are required to do. That’s why the Houston Independent School District suddenly has 3,000 new students to deal with, and unknown numbers of other school districts around the 50 states  are dealing with unknown numbers, because the federal government won’t tell where they have shipped the kids.

Obama’s speech is self-glorifying nonsense. False facts, pretty phrases, and attempts to turn reality into something more palatable. Won’t wash. Here is the text of the speech, should you care to read it. Frankly, I didn’t have the stomach for it.

He always ends his most divisive speeches with a pitiful anecdote about a suffering child or the like. This one has all the hallmarks of being completely made up. It’s almost sad watching the Democratic Party commit suicide.

The Obligatory Daily Ebola Post, Continued. by The Elephant's Child


What is a quarantine, and what is not, and what is inhumane treatment that requires a lawsuit to escape?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs health workers returning from West Africa to monitor their health for 21 days and that “during the time that you are monitoring your health, you can continue your normal activities.” Only after a health worker’s temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit does the CDC advise that he or she go to a doctor, “limit your contact with other people” and “avoid public transportation.”

A lot of people were shocked to hear that when Ebola-infected doctor Craig Spencer returned to New York City from Guinea, after serving there with Doctors Without Borders, he went for a three-mile run, stopped at a coffee stand,  ate at a meatball restaurant, rode on three New York subway lines, met friends at a bowling alley and used an Uber sedan to return home — none of his actions violated CDC directions. and he apparently felt fine.

The president has consistently treated Ebola as a crisis of public relations, that can be fixed with a new manager  or a more fortuitous choice of words. Instead of telling us up-front what we know for sure and what we don’t know for sure, the CDC has consistently attempted to pacify rather than take firm precautions.

Obama promised Americans that his administration was taking the necessary precautions so that someone with Ebola didn’t get on a plane, which Thomas Eric Duncan did just four days later, and due to much confusion about CDC protocols managed to infect two nurses before he died of Ebola.

Kaci Hickox returned from West Africa after tending Ebola patients there, and immediately began complaining when she was quarantined. Inhumane treatment! she shrieked, and threatened to sue. When she was sent home to Maine with a promise that she would carefully self-monitor and remain at home, immediately decided that self-quarantine was unnecessary and went out.

Ebola is not easily cured, and has something like a 70% death rate. One would think that staying home for 3 weeks would be easy if  you knew that you were preventing your fellows from catching a fatal disease from you. File under lack of character.

Australia has simply shut its borders to citizens of the countries of Ebola Central. That followed  decisions by the U.S. military to quarantine soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission (including one General). The U.N. and the afflicted countries say all this is unnecessary and might stop people agreeing to volunteer just when they desperately need thousands of volunteers. Dr. Frieden, head of CDC called for isolation of “people at the highest risk for Ebola infection” but said most returning medical workers would require monitoring without isolation. Frieden said:

At CDC, we base our decisions on science and experience … And as the science and experience changes, we adopt and adapt our guidelines and recommendations.

File this under “I’m a doctor, don’t doubt me.”

The hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan died and two nurses were infected, was unprepared, had not trained for the possibilities, nor studied the protocols. The media keeps talking about the “mass panic” — which has not yet appeared, and ignoring the anger — which has appeared.  Ebola has appeared in Africa for many years. We gave extra funds to the CDC, the office in HHS of the Ebola Czar, other agencies so they could study up and determine how best to address the disease. All the agencies were grateful for the extra cash and quickly spent most of it on frivolous grants and more fun stuff.

Research shows that certain strains of Ebola can remain on surfaces up to 50 days. It typically lives on a dry surface for a matter of hours, but in moist conditions like mucus, it is extended, according to the UK’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

The State Department had quietly made plans to bring Ebola-infected doctors and medical aides to the U.S. for treatment, according to an internal document  which argued that as the only way to get other countries to send medical teams would be to promise the U.S. as the world’s medical backstop. The Obama administration if furiously backpedaling, claiming they are not going to do it.

Since the administration will not be truthful about Enterovirus D-68 deaths, the connection to unaccompanied minors, nor just where the illegal children have been sent and what schools they are attending, they seem not to be aware that the lack of clarity about one health threat harms public attitudes about another health threat.

Just What You Thought! Silicon Valley Billion-Dollar Firm Pays Illegal Workers $1.21 an Hour. by The Elephant's Child

About those Silicon Valley claims that they just can’t find enough talented STEM workers in this country:

Although there is a surplus of American high-tech workers, high-tech companies continue to clamor for more guest-worker visas to lower the wages of their workers. Companies like Microsoft have lobbied for massive increases in foreign workers even while laying off 18,000 American workers.

Electronics for Living is a billion-dollar manufacturer of computer peripherals with sales of $727 million last year. They apparently have an operation and employees in Bangalore, India. The company decided to install a new computer system and imported eight workers from India to do this work. The first arrived in September 2013, and the last left in December of that year.

The workers continued to be paid at their Indian wages plus  an apparently tiny bonus, in rupees, or 74 Indian rupees an hour. In American dollars, their total pay was $1.21 an hour. Oops! Temporary or not the were completely covered by both federal and California minimum wage law, the latter calls for at least $8.00 an hour and time-and-a-half  for overtime. At least one of the workers was forced to work 122 house in a week, but details for the others are not available.

They were busted, but while both workers and corporation were egregiously violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act. they got off with a minor slap on the wrist. The Dept. of Labor figured the difference between $1.21 and the state’s minimum of $8.00 an hour plus the missing overtime payments came to about $20,000. Labor did double that figure, and each worker got about $5,000 or $40,000 all together. And they added in a $3,500 administrative  fee to the total. Electronics for Living  said “We unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local U.S. standards.”

When India-based Infosys was called into court for multiple violations of the INA, they were smacked with a $34 million fine. The two cases are separate, but if you look upon whines from Silicon Valley about their inability to find satisfactory STEM graduates in this country with a bit of a jaundiced eye, you cannot be blamed.

Importing foreign workers pushes the wages for available jobs downward. Massive increases in guest-worker visas will cut off opportunity for American workers to enter the middle class through technology jobs.


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